Jainab (third left) receiving a gift of appreciation from Lions, District 308-A2 Governer, Dato’ Lawrence Ting.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has the highest number of patients with bilateral blindness and most of them come from the rural areas.
Head of the Eye Department in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Dr Sheena Alexander said most of the patients lacked knowledge on eye diseases and just as many could not afford the medical costs for treatment.
Cataract is high on the list with 70.9 per cent of patients suffering from the ailment but 20.9 per cent of these eye patients also refuse surgery out of fear.
“This puts Sabah among the top three states in the country with the highest number of eye patients afraid to opt for surgery,” she said when speaking at the World Sight Day 2015 celebration held here yesterday.
The event was launched by the Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid.
It was organised by the Lions Club of Kota Kinabalu by joining forces with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and the Sabah Society for the Blind.
In reminding the public of the importance of eye tests, Sheena said diseases such as cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy could lead to blindness if left unchecked.
A survey by Malaysia’s Health Ministry showed that 33,000 eye patients in Sabah suffered from poor vision due to cataract and roughly 7, 800 of them are blind due to the same condition.
Cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye leading to a decrease in vision and can affect one or both eyes. It is one of the greatest scourges that affect the elderly.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness after cataract. It is an eye condition in which the optic nerve is damaged.
“For those aged above 40, one in 100 has a chance of developing glaucoma without the person knowing it because there are no signs and symptoms,” said Dr Sheena.
by NOOR EVIANA DATU MAZINAL.