A Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr Abiola Oyeleye, has appealed to Nigerians to adopt the attitude of donating their corneas after death.
Oyeleye, the Medical Director of Eye Doctor’s, said this during the Investiture Ceremony of Lion Adebimpe Bello, as President of Anthony Village Emerald Lions Club, on Sunday evening in Lagos.
He said that cornea donation was necessary for the preservation and restoration of sight to people with corneal blindness, adding that one cornea donor can restore sight to two people.
The corneal blindness is a profound decrease in vision or blindness due to diseases of the cornea.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), corneal blindness is the fourth most common cause of blindness globally, accounting for over five per cent of the total blind population.
A cornea transplant often referred to as keratoplasty or corneal graft is an operation to remove all or part of a damaged cornea and replace it with healthy donor tissue.
Oyeleye said that in over 20 years, the Lagos Eye Bank had only obtained two corneal grafts locally, adding that all other grafts used were obtained from Asia.
According to him, corneal transplants is life-saving and life-giving to improve sight, relieve pain and treat severe infection or damage to a living blind person.
He said that one of the hindrances to corneal donation in Nigeria was the myths of reincarnation, saying that many people would say that they need their eyes to see when they come back to the world.
Oyeleye said that blindness was one of the greatest fears in the world; thus any little help to the eye care industry would be appreciated, while emphasising that accessibility and affordability was vital to eye care.
He noted that the Lions Clubs had embarked on several interventions in eye care which includes; provision of glasses, cataract surgery, diabetes screening, provision of white canes, guide dogs for the blind and eye test equipment.
Lion Adebimpe Bello, in her acceptance speech as President of Anthony Village Emerald Lions Club, disclosed plans to renovate Anthony Police Station and build two modern toilets with steady water supply in Anthony area.
She said that the club would sponsor 50 cataract surgeries, donate 200 bed sheets to three public hospitals where patients lay on bare mattresses.
According to her, the club will pursue its vision in fighting preventable blindness, feed the hungry, protect the environment, increase paediatric cancer enlightenment, diabetes awareness and free screenings.
Bello pledged the club’s commitment to meeting the growing needs of the community and serving the interest of the underprivileged in the society.