Blindness Preventing Device- A Gift To Africa.


Blindness is the inability of an individual to make use of his sight, having visual impediments. For example across Africa, there are many who are born blind, these people struggle to be a part of society. There arose a need to make those blind feel like humans even with the challenge of sight. Hence schools were built for them, workshops were provided for them. For example, I was amazed the first time I visit a school for the blind and saw their handworks. Some of them made local fabrics called “Ankara”, Mats. hand fans, Bead bags, etc. This school builds hopes in them and shows them that they can be useful and creative.

Many Have Wondered If Nothing Could be Done to Prevent Blindness

According to ncbi.nlm.nih. evidence shows that blindness is on a prevalence rate hence 1% of Africans are blind. And there are a few causes of blindness which could be prevented or cured, one of its causes include is Cataract. However, there is a problem called refractive problem and also some blindness occurs focally. These can be prevented or cured by primary health care measures such as Vitamin A deficiency, onchocerciasis, and trachoma at the initial stage. Moreso, It was suggested that efforts should be made on providing solutions to universally present eye problems. However, while proving a solution they are also concerned about having a cos effective remedy. And boom! just when no one was expecting this blindness preventing device was brought to Africa.

Blindness Preventing Device; A Gift To Africa

Yes, it is a gift to Africa because there was nothing to prevent blindness from growing pass the 1% it was estimated. And here two young men spent 8 paddlings to  Cape Town in Africa all the way from Cairo bearing a solution in their hand. The thing is that they could have gone to another place in the world but they chose to bring their gifts to Africa. Alex McMaster and Merlin Hetherington were welcomed and they were able to provide prevention of blindness using a device called Arclight. 

Background Of Arclight; The Blindness Preventing Device Functions.

Arclight is a pocket-sized device that was developed by the University of St Andres, School of Medicine. Interestingly it is solar-powered runs at a low cost. It functions simultaneously as solar power and an ophthalmoscope and an otoscope. With Arclight an examiner can see the front and back of the Eye, thereby revealing all major blinding conditions such as trachoma, cataract, glaucoma, and diabetes.

its low cost enables vision and hearing impaired persons and health care workers of low-income in the rural communities to use it. This is because Arclight is cost-effective so, they do not worry about cost or electricity. However, early diagnosis makes Arclight more effective in preventing eye and ear disease, especially in young people. According to goodnewsnetwork.

And Alex and Merlin felt moved to help prevent blindness since it is preventable and felt no one should live any part of their life blind. Hence, Alex and Merlin have been able to distribute 1,050 Arclights and trained 843 people across Africa. This was achieved by their collaboration with the Fred Hollows Foundation and the International Agency For Preventing Blindness. In developing this device, Dr. Andrew Blaikie has been assisting with the evaluation and implementation of Arclight for over four years. He is the Senior Lecturer in the Global Health Team. Dr, Blaikie is also the consultant to Britain’s national health Service.

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