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Optometrists Advocate for Inclusion of Eye Care in Health Insurance to Promote Comprehensive Vision Wellness

The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) is fervently pushing for the seamless integration of eye care into primary care services and health insurance schemes, with a primary aim of enhancing accessibility and affordability for a wider cross-section of the population.

Dr. Chimeziri Anderson, the distinguished President of NOA, made this impassioned appeal during a momentous event commemorating the 2023 World Sight Day in Abuja. In his address, Dr. Anderson underscored the paramount importance of regular eye checkups, akin to the way we prioritize overall health maintenance. He emphasized how early detection of eye conditions could significantly contribute to the preservation of one’s vision.

Moreover, Dr. Anderson enlightened the audience about the remarkable aspect of eye examinations: they are not merely a gateway to good vision but can also serve as a crucial diagnostic tool for various chronic diseases. Conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, he affirmed, can be identified through a thorough eye examination, thereby making it an indispensable component of holistic healthcare.

He went on to explain that routine blood pressure and blood sugar tests, conducted during these eye examinations, play a pivotal role in ensuring comprehensive eye care.

Dr. Anderson’s impassioned plea included a poignant reminder that our eyes are our windows to the world, connecting us to the beauty, wonder, and precious moments that surround us. To truly demonstrate love and care for our eyes, he asserted, one must take proactive steps to protect and nurture their vision. The NOA’s overarching objective is to champion holistic health and early detection of underlying conditions that can potentially impact vision adversely.

In this noble pursuit, Dr. Anderson underscored the necessity of collaboration with key healthcare entities, including the Federal Ministry of Health, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), and the Nigerian Health Insurance Authority. These collaborations, he maintained, are imperative for successfully driving this vision wellness initiative forward.

Furthermore, Dr. Anderson dispensed invaluable advice on eye care. He strongly recommended that individuals should take measures to protect their eyes from injuries, especially when engaged in activities such as work, outdoor events, or motorbike riding. Children, he cautioned, should avoid prolonged exposure to the sun’s morning rays, as it carries the highest concentration of harmful UV radiation. In addition, maintaining a balanced diet rich in eye-friendly nutrients, such as green vegetables, carrots, and various fruits, was urged as a fundamental practice. Physical activity, including walking, dancing, and light exercise on farms, was highlighted as a way to maintain overall health.

For drivers, Dr. Anderson emphasized the critical importance of regular eye examinations and the utilization of prescription eyeglasses to optimize their vision. He underscored that the brain functions most effectively when vision is exceptionally clear.

As the NOA intensifies its efforts to promote inclusive eye care, it is evident that the vision of comprehensive eye wellness is not merely a dream but a mission that is being fervently pursued. With the backing of healthcare authorities and organizations, Dr. Chimeziri Anderson and the NOA are committed to making a significant impact on the way Nigerians view and prioritize their eye health, ensuring that affordable and accessible eye care becomes an inherent part of the nation’s healthcare landscape.

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