Uncorrected refractive errors leading cause of visual impairment

Wa, Jan. 31, GNA – Uncorrected refractive errors are the leading cause of visual impairment globally, says Dr Oscar Debrah, Head of Eye Care – Ghana.

He said even though they are conditions that in the main could be treated or managed by spectacles, it still remains a major challenge globally.

Dr Debrah who said this during the inauguration of Bliss Eye Care facility in Wa said the condition affects both children and adults.

He explained that the education of children with refractive errors could be seriously effected while in adults especially those who are more than 40 years, driving and reading become a real challenge for them.

He said in Ghana refractive error services are mostly delivered in the urban areas, especially Accra and Kumasi, since the major service providers are in the private sector.

“This leaves a major gap in the delivery of these services in many communities especially the rural areas,” he pointed out.

He therefore welcomed the inauguration of Bliss Eye Care to provide refractive error services in the Upper West Region in particular and the entire northern sector.

Dr Debrah congratulated Dr Zakarea Al-hasan Balure for his foresight in establishing the facility to provide refractive eye care services.

Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Acting Regional Director of Health Services stated that prevention of avoidable visual impairment is a topmost agenda as far as eye care is concerned in the region.

He noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) Prevention of Blindness Programme estimated in 2010 that globally 285 million people were visually impaired.

According to the data, 80 per cent (228 million people) of visual impairment including blindness are avoidable.

Again, the date stated that 90 per cent of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries such as Ghana.

Dr Ofosu noted that the two main causes of visual impairment are uncorrected refractive errors, 42 per cent and cataract, 33 per cent.

He said cost-effective interventions to reduce the burden of both conditions exist in all countries, revealing that the Region has onchocerciasis and trachoma, which causes blindness but are preventable.

He said noted that this year, there would be intensified efforts in eye care through community and school screening to detect and treat people with visual problems.

Dr Balure said he shares the pain of clients when they receive poor services from an optometrist and promised to avail himself to give optometry in the region and the country at large a new image.

“I am determined to fight for utmost attention paid to pediatric optometry in Ghana; a guarantee to relevant and resultant acceptance of professional optometry in Ghana in the future.”

Dr Balure said the doors of Bliss Eye Care are opened to all.

He acknowledged the immense support of Swiss Red Cross through Ghana Red Cross Society, Vision 2020 Switzerland and Peter and Hazel Roost of Roost Optic – Switzerland to the realization of the Bliss Eye Care concept.

Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Regional Minister commended Dr Balure for his foresight and urged young people to emulate his example by venturing into self-employable ventures and not over rely on non-existent jobs in the public sector.

He advised that as the clinic becomes well-grounded, it should begin to undertake outreach services in order to provide services to persons in the rural areas.


Source: GNA Story (
Published: 2016-01-31 14:02:22
© Ghana News Agency