Rise of eye diseases in Vietnamese children

On the occasion of ‘World Sight Day’ on October 4, Vu Thi Thanh, director of the Hanoi Eye Hospital expressed her concern at the increase of eye diseases in young Vietnamese children.

This year, ‘World Sight Day’ is being celebrated in Hanoi. A program titled “Good Vision for Children” focused on blindness, visual impairment and rehabilitation of the visually impaired.

Thanh said that around 500,000 students in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City suffered from refractory eye disorder, of which 75 percent suffered from short-sightedness.

She spoke of lack of awareness amongst parents to the risk of short-sightedness that has led more and more children to suffer from poor vision. Besides, most students study under a poor light, which is damaging to the eyes.

At least 50 percent students across the nation suffer from eye diseases, mainly from short-sight. This figure could be more in bigger cities, she said.

She pointed out that about 30-35 percent of students in Hanoi suffered from refractory eye diseases and that Vietnam has around 2 million blind people, with 32,000 in Hanoi alone. She said that her hospital will be conducting free eye check-ups and surgeries for children under 15, on the occasion of ‘World Sight Day’.

Present at the occasion were Louis Taylor, General Director of Standard Chartered Bank in Vietnam, Piers Craven, Head of Trade and Industry at the British Embassy, Le Anh Tuan, Director of the Department of Health in Hanoi, Huynh Tan Phuc, country director of the Fred Hollows Foundation and representatives from the British Council, eye doctors and many eye patients.

The annual ‘World Sight Day’ event is the main support base for “Vision 2020: The Right to Sight", a global effort to prevent blindness. The program is funded by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.

Vietnam is hosting the event for the ninth time. A wide range of activities such as discussion meetings, an exhibition on the prevention of blindness, screening of cartoons to educate children on eye care and distribution of free books, DVD’s and gifts for children of Nguyen Dinh Chieu School were held.

Mr. Louis Taylor said that with the support of Fred Hollow Foundation the Standard chartered Bank was successfully conducting its project “Seeing is believing” in Vietnam. The project has assisted 7,162 people to recover eye sight, provided eye care to 481,625 people, educated 801,570 people on eye care and prevention of blindness and distributed 2,000 spectacles. He expressed his hope that the project would continue to provide good quality eye care services in Vietnam in future.

Source:SGGP,VOA - Translated by T.Huong

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