1.5m Nigerians are blind, says eye bank

Eyes-careAbout 1.5m Nigerians are suffering from various forms of blindness, 30 percent of which is caused by cornea blindness, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Eye Bank for Restoring Sight Nigeria (EBRSN), Dr. Olaseinde Akinsete, has said.

Akinsete made the submission yesterday during a Breakfast Fundraiser with the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, in Lagos.

He regretted that despite the Cornea Grafting Decree of 1973 and several advocacy and enlightenment campaigns over the years, the menace of blindness is still troubling.

Explaining that, after death, the first part of the body to melt away within 24 hours is the cornea, he said it was unfortunate that people are not aware of how beneficial donating the vital part of the eye can be to others.

According to him, “We have employed means of overcoming some of these obstacles, for instance, cornea have been imported from countries like the United Kingdom, India, Sri Lanka and the United States, to address the shortages here. We have over 160 people suffering from cornea blindness, who are on the waiting list. And it is embarrassing when we go to other countries to request for the body part and they ask whether people don’t die in our country.”

On her part, Medical Director of EBRSN, Dr. Mosunmade Faderin, said that unlike other forms of organ transplant where tissue types are sought for, it was not necessary with the cornea, because it is avascular and with no blood vessels.

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