By Jason B. Neola
NAGA CITY --- In the hope to alleviating the incidence of visual impairment among Nagueños, the Resource Center for the Blind (RCB) of the city government here staged a daylong activity last week wherein more than a hundred participants were provided with services on eye care.
Anchored on the theme “Eye Care Everywhere!” the activity was held in celebration of the international World Sight Day, traditionally held every October 11 in the United States and other parts of the world.
Based on the website of 2018 World Sight Day, it was learned that an estimated 36 million people around the world are blind while 217 million live with moderate to severe vision impairment, and 81% of them are 50 years and above.
In an interview, Mayor John Bongat said that aside from providing the participants -- who were mainly composed of representatives from different public and private school clinics, barangay volunteer workers, visually-impaired students and parents -- with knowledge about proper eye care, the activity was also held to be aware of the approaches on how to avoid blindness.
Last year, the Philippines’ estimated number of persons who were bilaterally blind was 332,150, where 33 percent of which, or around 109,609 was attributed to cataract; 25% or 83,037 due to errors of refraction, and 14 percent or 46,501 due to glaucoma.
“We want to eliminate avoidable blindness as what Vision 2020 of the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness have been campaigning for,” says Bongat.
RCB staff Felix Chavez, himself visually-impaired, said that chronic eye diseases are main cause of vision loss. Uncorrected refractive errors and cataract are the top two causes of vision impairment. Cataract remains the leading cause of blindness in low-and-middle-income countries.
Teresita Domer, RCB officer-in-charge, said Naga’s celebration held last October 26 took off with the conduct of eye screening and eye check–up, treatment and other preventive services that will allow early detection and rehabilitation of visual impairment.
Dr. Peter Joseph Reyes of the DOH Bicol Sanitarium Blindness Program spearheaded the conduct of the services.
Nurse II Felicidad Jeremias of Bicol Sanitarium Eye Care Services Department presented a lecture on visual impairment, early detection and prevention to equip the participants with insights on proper eye care and encourage them to undergo eye screening and check-up.
The City Government of Naga has for so long been offering similar services to visually-challenged individuals but the activity last Friday was the first time after the city government took part in the celebration of the World Sight Day.