Report: 40, 000 blind, twice as many are women

40 000 adults in PNG are unnecessarily blind.

This means, their lost vision could have been avoided.

This is according to the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) report in PNG.

The report also highlighted that from this 40, 000 blind, twice as many are women. And the higher prevalence of blindness is in the Highlands region, due to inaccessibility to proper health services.

Dr Amyna Sultan from the National Prevention of Blindness committee revealed these results yesterday.

She said the leading cause of blindness in PNG is cataract - a simple operable condition.

A cataract is the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It happens with ageing, thus it’s more common with those above 40 years of age.

However, not many are aware that eye sight can be regained through a less than 45 minutes painless cataract surgery.

Another increasing cause of blindness worldwide is diabetic retinopathy.  

This is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye (retina). Poorly controlled blood sugar is a risk factor.

Dr Sultan said 80 percent of diabetics in PNG do not get base-line eye examination, once they are diagnosed with diabetes and on an ongoing basis. 

Less awareness and no proper established eye care services in the country contribute to these alarming statistics.

“It is really sad to see people sitting at home unnecessarily blind,” said Dr Sultan.

But these statistics could be reversed and she is calling on more advocacy, especially into rural parts of PNG.

Gloria Bauai
Breaking News