250,000 Kenyans are blind with 7.5 million others in need of eye services.
This was revealed Thursday as the country joined the rest of the world in marking World Sight Day.
The Ministry of Health has subsequently developed a master plan for eye health to improve and scale up delivery of eye services in Kenya for the next five years.
Heath CS Mutahi Kagwe says the National eye health strategic plan 2020-2025, to be launched in the next few weeks, outlines a road map aimed at achieving the highest standards of eye health.
The plan focuses on strengthening the capacity of the health system to deliver eye health through its integration within primary health care. It proposes an investment of Ksh 5.7 billion with an expected four-fold return amounting to Ksh22 billion.
“This plan will serve as a guide for prioritising eye health, resource mobilisation and eye health planning at the county level,” The CS said in his special message as he led Kenyans in marking the day that advocates for increased eye attention and investments towards eye care.
The elderly and rural communities in low and middle-income countries continue to bear the burden of the disease due to limited access to health and eye care services.
150,000 Kenyans have lost vision to age-related cataract which remains the leading cause of blindness in Kenya.
Other causes are trachoma, glaucoma, refractive errors (short sight or long sight) and childhood eye diseases. 80 per cent of the conditions are both easily preventable and treatable.
“Out of the 7.5 million who need eye care only 20pc are able to access eye care services and the quality of the services received is not assured,” said the CS.,
Kagwe warns that preventable complications of diabetes in the eyes will soon be a leading cause of blindness if no intervention measures are put in place.
Around 2.2 billion people in the world have an eyesight problem which can be prevented or treated.