By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—THE Nigerian College of Optometrists has urged the Federal Government to enact a law to make it mandatory for all applications for driver’s license to be accompanied by a good vision certificate issued from a certified optometry clinic as a way of curtailing the rate of auto crashes in the country.
They attributed some of the accidents on poor vision on the part of the drivers, saying such action would go a long way to reduce the number of auto crashes in the country.
The college also decried the absence of reliable statistics and indices of visual impact on the developmental stages and learning ability of the Nigerian child.
The registrar of the college, Prof. Uche Ikonne, who made the call recently at Uturu, during the 10th Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the college, lamented the quantum of lives and property the nation loses on annual basis to road accident, some of which could be attributed to poor vision on the part of the drivers.
Ikonne, who is also the Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu, stressed the importance of a legislation to ensure that applicants for driver’s license present vision certificate to determine the type of license to be issued to such applicant.
“Every application for driver’s license must be accompanied by a vision certificate issued from an optometry clinic. There is need to develop statistics on the frequency, nature and causes of road traffic accidents in Nigeria.
“There is need to develop a simple but professional vision evaluation protocol for visual acuity and stereopsis to determine the class of driver’s license to be issued to each applicant”, Prof. Ikonne said.
The Nigerian college of Optometrists registrar, who spoke while delivering Prof. P. O. Ogbuehi Memorial lecture, who contributed immensely to the growth of optometry, also called for a reliable statistics visual impact on the learning ability of Nigerian children.
“Absence of reliable statistics and indices of visual impact on developmental stages and learning ability of the Nigerian child is a problem. I therefore recommendation a nationwide study aimed at establishing reliable statistics for national health planners”, Ikonne said.
He maintained that there is need for Government to ensure that the citizens have good vision.
Meanwhile, the National Universities Commission, NUC, has approved a training benchmark for all institutions offering courses in optometry which was unveiled during the AGM which also witnessed induction new Fellows of the college.
The new benchmark programme featuring combine programmes in Masters, PhD, and fellow of the College is seen as being enriched in curriculum across Health Science Courses with more emphasis on research which offers academic and professional development was designed by Prof. Ikonne.