More than 3,000 Afghans with severe eyesight failure have been treated through the Ministry of Health’s mobile eye clinics in the past two years, but officials said more needs to be done with 80 percent of those with eye problems believed to have a treatable condition.
Marking ‘World Sight Day’ at a conference in Kabul, Health Minister Suraya Dalil said Afghanistan has an estimated 400,000 people who are completely blind and another 25,000 people without sight in one eye.
Dalil added that many of those suffering from eyesight failure were not born with the condition, but rather received the disability through violence or other causes.
“The Ministry of Health has been able to expand eye care centers throughout the provinces. The mobile clinics are been inaugurated in remote areas which have treated 3,000 people so far,” she added. “They have also distributed classes to those with eye problems for free.”
World Health Organisation representative for Afghanistan Ashfaq Ahmad urged at the Kabul conference for Afghan health workers to identify and provide the necessary treatments for the patients with eye issues in order to reduce the level of blind people in the country.
“Of 400,000 blind people 80 percent have been identified by WHO to have a treatable condition. I urge the Afghan health workers to provide basic health care services, training, prevention and awareness to treat the eye issue on time in order reduce the problem in the country,” he added.
According to the WHO statistics, there are around 285 million people with eye problems around the world – 39 million of them are clinically blind and 246 million have some sight but its poor quality vision.
WHO, which is the promoter of World Sight Day, also says that 82 percent of the blind people around the world are more than 50 years old.