By Adewale Adeyanju (INN), Lagos
An NGO, Restore Foundation for Child Sight, jointly celebrating the World Sight Day, 2022 with Lagos State Albinism Awareness Society had provided eyeglasses for Children with Albinism.
The event was held at the auditorium of National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi – Lagos on Saturday October 15, 2022, along with the Foundation’s first year anniversary.
At the event, Executive Director of the Foundation, Dr Halima Alimi said that the foundation had given out 1,935 bottles of eye drops for free, done 76 eye surgeries either free or at highly subsidized costs, distributed over 300 eyeglasses and trained at least 707 teachers in vision screening for school children. Over 250 schools also benefitted from free vision testing kits.
According to Alimi, the organization had, prior to this year’s World Sight Day carried out eye tests among Children with Albinism aged between 3months and 16 years.
The eye tests were conducted on 17th, 18th, and 24th September at Jibowu Lagos. Free eyeglasses were distributed to those with defective vision at the World Sight Day celebrations.
Over 100 eyeglasses were freely distributed among children with Albinism. She highlighted the importance of bringing reading materials such as text books closer to the children to discourage the habit of bending their necks to get closer to the reading material. She demonstates this with a prototype desk platform which increases the height of tables in class rooms.
Dr. Alimi, a consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist, while describing Albinism, disclosed that there is 1 in 17,000 people worldwide with the condition. According to her such condition also occur in non-human species.
She revealed that every eye with Albinism has visual challenges, adding that children as early as three months should be taken to an ophthalmologist for examination and screening of the eyes and this must be regularly followed up.
The paediatric eye specialist explained further: “from the moment of conception, the eye problem has already begun for albinism persons. Therefore, the earlier the intervention, the better the results.
“If we can solve vision problems associated with albinism, then we can give the child with Albinism the advantage of attaining greater heights. I have heard of cases of children doing badly in class before they came to us, the same children are topping their classes after our intervention.
“Apart from glasses, other measures that could help the child with albinism perform better in education, include sitting at the front row in class, legible and bold hand writings by teachers with markers that give good contrast against the class board and using a high desk platform.”
Dr. Alimi noted that the foundation also visited Lagos’ riverine areas including Makoko where no fewer than 2,000 children were assessed over a period of five days.
She said the foundation will visit orphanages, Deaf children and other disadvantaged children wherever they are, at a yet to be disclosed date.
Presenting the glasses and kits to the beneficiaries, General Manager, Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs – Mr. Dare Dairo commended the foundation for putting the event together and filling in the gaps for social inclusion.
He said it was important to provide resources and facilities that would help children with albinism mitigate these challenges and make them productive as members of the society.
Chairperson of Lagos Albinism Awareness Society, Mrs Josephine Omolola used the occasion to encourage parents of child with Albinism to contact Albinism Awareness Society for provisions of eyeglasses to aid their sights.
“A lot of children with albinism are intelligent but perform badly and fall out of school due to poor vision.”
Omolola urged the government to support Foundations that care for children with albinism by providing necessary equipment that would aid the education of these children.