By Eastern Newspaper Correspondent
A random Clinical eye examination outreach at Nkubu town is worrying eye medical specialists after seven out of ten examined people had eye defects.
The patients who were above 40 years were examined by ophthalmologist Murithi M’inoti, who is the Eye Friends Clinic based in Meru town noted that many residents were suffering from bilateral blindness or vision impairment without their knowledge.
M’Inoti who had partnered with the Rotary Club of Nkubu and Meru’s Harmony Therapy center urged Meru people to stop assuming or ignoring any changes in their eyes but rather go for checkups once in a while for healthy living.
“Some were found with Retina Hole that needs surgery or operation for one to see clearly again.
We have issued sunglasses and drugs. We were shocked to realize many of our elderly people are walking but are extremely very sick,” M’inoti said.
Jennifer Kathure, the Director of Harmony Therapy Centre, an institution catering to rehabilitation and a rescue home for the elderly the current President of the Rotary Club of Nkubu wondered if it was a burden or ignorance for Meru people to visit health facilities for checkups.
She appealed to corporate entities that include the national and county governments to support such free examination for a productive society.
“Some had blood pressure and diabetes issues. Some got eye drops others sunglasses and referral have done for cataracts or surgeries. I appeal to Companies, wealthy people, Banks, Saccos, and other well-wishers within Meru to intervene by funding our activities for healthy living. One does not help because they are rich but a heart of humanity. We were shocked to attend to a ten-year-old child suffering from an eye problem,” she said.
Fr Gaciata, the Patron of Nkubu Rotary Club noted that many fear expenses in buying white canes, braille readers, and scientific calculators. The elderly persons have the highest rates of cataracts, Dry Eye, Astigmatism, Floaters, glaucoma, Amblyopia (Lazy Eye), macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
In March this year, The Kenya Society for The Blind chairperson Angela Wambui raised alarm over the increased number of persons suffering from eye-related diseases. She said the organization rehabilitates 20 to 30 people who go blind each month to help them adapt to their new way of life. Wambui said if sufficient awareness is not conducted countrywide, statistics indicate Kenya may have more than 10 million blind people in 10 years.
It is estimated that out of a population of 4.3 million people aged above 50, there are 92,000 new cases of visual impairment. Of that number, 11,600 are blind.
In 2019, The Kenya Society for The Blind announced there were 750,000 visually impaired and 300,000 totally blind Kenyans.
The Kenya Society for the Blind has conducted 183 eye camps across the country and has rehabilitated more than 36,000 people who lost their sight.
M’inoti said Diabetes is one cause of blindness that increasingly has been affecting younger people whereas it has wrongly been considered a condition of old age. M’inoti said the checkup found out that many people aged above 40 years are suffering from short-sightedness and Diabetes that affect their vision. M’inoti said Macula holes are not common and the condition is abrupt as it completely destroys one’s vision and urged people who experience such condition to visit an eye surgeon instead of rushing to buy glasses.
“We discovered a patient with severe hypertension as her blood pressure was as high as 200 instead of the normal 120BP. We appeal to Meru people to frequently visit health facilities for checkups especially if any of your family members suffered any of the diseases as these diseases come from heredity or genetics,” M’inoti said. M’inoti said eye glaucoma affects optic nerves leaving one with tunnel vision.
Some of the beneficiaries of the checkup could not hide their joy. Romano Mburugu said there are many sick people at home who fear going for checkups but with words of encouragement and free attention many can overcome health challenges.
“Some got drugs and others glasses for free. This is a rare gesture from health experts. I am confident I will heal,” he said.