Report: 40, 000 blind, twice as many are women

This means, their lost vision could have been avoided.

This is according to the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) report in PNG.

The report also highlighted that from this 40, 000 blind, twice as many are women. And the higher prevalence of blindness is in the Highlands region, due to inaccessibility to proper health services.

Dr Amyna Sultan from the National Prevention of Blindness committee revealed these results yesterday.

She said the leading cause of blindness in PNG is cataract - a simple operable condition.

Check your eyes, avoid blindness

This was the message emphasised yesterday on World Sight Day (WSD).

WSD is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.

Recognising this was the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby.

The director, Dr Amyna Sultan, who is also a member of PNG’s National Prevention of Blindness committee, highlighted alarming statistics of PNG based on recent surveys in the country.

Study: Over 40,000 people in PNG suffer blindness

The RAAB is a population-based survey to assess the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment, its main causes, the output and quality of cataract surgery and other indicators for eye care services.

The study was conducted by the National Prevention of Blindness Committee (PBL) carried out at 100 randomly selected communities in PNG.

The study determined the primary cause of blindness, which is untreated cataract, and revealed that 67,987 people are blind in one eye.

Spotting the illness that can cause sudden blindness

The symptoms can appear very suddenly and end in irreversible blindness. Dr Saleyha Ahsan met a group of people who've been affected and explains what to look out for.

"My mother in law lost a lot of weight, she was very low mood, very painful scalp, jaw pain - and when I say painful scalp, brushing her hair became impossible," says Amanda Bartlett.

"Within the four hours that we were in eye casualty, towards the end she reached round her chair and grabbed my hand and said 'Amanda, I can't see anything.' And she lost her sight that afternoon."