Eye experts raise alarm over use of banned drink

Thursday, May 9th, 2024 04:03 | By
Members of the community undergoing eye screening at Zetech University’s Mang’u Campus in Juja1 PHOTO/Mathew Ndungú
Members of the community undergoing eye screening at Zetech University’s Mang’u Campus in Juja1 PHOTO/Mathew Ndungú

Kenyans have been advised to avoid excess uptake of alcohol and other outlawed substances to remain safe from eye-related ailments.

 Besides temporary effects such as blurry vision and dry, bloodshot eyes, experts warned that excess regular drinking can also cause permanent vision loss.

According to Anne Mwangi, an ophthalmologist, alcohol can cause both short- and long-term vision problems.

Mwangi noted that while possible short-term problems relating to intoxication include blurry vision, changes in color perception, and light sensitivity, the potential long-term issues relate to changes to the eyes’ structures or the communication between the eyes and brain.

Speaking during a free eye medical clinic held at Zetech University’s Mang’u Campus in Witeithie, Juja, Mwangi pointed out that drinking not only affects the central nervous system (CNS)—slowing important functions related to coordination, reasoning, and mood but can also cause challenges with eye health and vision, including dry eye disease.

“We have multifaceted causes of eye problems, ranging from environmental factors such as dust to lifestyle choices such as overusing electronic gadgets. That said, it’s sad to report that alcoholism has become a major cause of eye diseases. We therefore urge our people to keep off alcohol and abuse of other substances,” said Mwangi.

Causes of challenges

She further pointed out over exposure to electronic devices such as phones, laptops and televisions as other causes of eye challenges and called on Kenyans to embrace healthy habits such as minimizing screen time to remain healthy.

Zetech University partnered with the County Government of Kiambu, PCEA Kikuyu Hospital, and the Christian Blind Mission, a collaborative effort that extended vital eye screening services to over 1000 individuals residing in the Weiteithie area.

According to Zetech University Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Alice Njuguna, the varsity was pushed to organize the camp after recognizing the pressing need for accessible eye care, particularly in underserved communities, to bridge the gap between demand and access to quality eye health services.

“Through free consultations and screenings, Zetech University, alongside its partners, aims to empower individuals with knowledge and access to essential eye care services,” she said.

Return to work

As the stalemate between doctors and the government continues after the aggrieved medics failed to sign a return-to-work formula with accusations and counter-accusations from both parties leading to an impasse, Njuguna pleaded with the striking doctors to reason out with the government and find a lasting solution to the standoff saying that Kenyans are suffering.

“A high percentage of Kenyans cannot afford to seek services in private medical facilities and that is why you have seen hundreds of people line up to access free eye care. The doctors should reason out with the government and come up with a workable formula for Kenyans to stop suffering,” she said.

Most locals presented themselves with eye cataracts, short-sighted and others were suffering from allergies.

The local beneficiaries hailed the institutions involved for the kind gesture noting that they have been facing an uphill task in accessing the services especially at this time when doctors have downed their tools.

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