Every year on the second Thursday in October, countries around the world mark “World Sight Day”, raising awareness around the importance of the eyes and the need to get eyes checked regularly to bringing eye screening and services closer to communities and people.
The theme for this year’s World Sight Day is “LOVE YOUR EYES” which essentially is all about being aware of your own eye health and getting your eyesight tested.
As such, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Eye Department is happily marking World Sight Day today (14th October 2021) with community eye screening around parts of Honiara and radio jingles awareness on the importance of getting eyes checked for early treatment. In fact, the screening have started since Monday and will end tomorrow ( Friday 15th October).
Head of the Eye Department, National Referral Hospital Dr Nola Pikacha explained that going blind is not common; however, it is rapidly increasing due to a number of reasons such as changes in lifestyles leading to diabetes.
“Damage to the eyes or diabetic retinopathy, is now a concern, and failure to take steps to have regular eye checks may lead to avoidable blindness. This is all about increasing the individual person’s perceptions of the importance of caring for the eyes. All age groups are at risk of blindness and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure no one goes blind unnecessarily”,
“People must know the importance and feel the need for good eye health so they can come forward to get their eyes tested. Issues of stigma, fear and not being aware of the services available have been some of the most common inference to low turnout of the public to get their eyes screened”, explained Dr Pikacha.
In Solomon Islands, the rate of avoidable blindness is 1.8 percent and increasing and has now become a concern. Findings from a national blindness survey conducted in 2017 revealed a good proportion of those having low vision do not feel the need to get their eyes checked. “This in itself speaks of the need to call for action and action by stakeholders and the public to invest in eye health program and people to get their eyes tested on regular basis as much as possible”, stated Dr Pikacha.
Public are kindly requested to feel free to visit the Regional Eye Centre (REC) at the National Referral Hospital compound anytime during normal working hours to have their eyes checked.
Those in around the Gilbert Camp area and other nearby communities, you can also get your eye checked today and tomorrow at the Christ the King Church at Gilbert Camp.
Every year eye screenings at community level in all provinces is being conducted at least thirty per year and to different communities each year. The screening is important to make list of names and number of people that will require surgeries to inform the national eye department to prepare the needed number of surgeons to deploy to which provinces at which times to ensure all provinces have the chance for their people to receive eye treatment and surgeries.