A meeting to mark World Sight Day was held at the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO) on October 14 attended by representatives of the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF), CBM, and ORBIS, as well as eye doctors from around the country.
This is the 8th year Vietnam has observed World Sight Day. This year’s theme is “Towards vision 2020: the Right to Sight”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) chose Thursday of the second full week in October as World Sight Day.
From October 10-15, the VNIO will provide free eye exams to thousands of poor people in Bac Giang, Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri provinces. In September, its doctors performed free cataract surgery on 275 poor people in Vinh Phuc, Hoa Binh, Bac Giang, Nam Dinh, and Quang Ngai province and plans to provide similar surgery to 300 patients in Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh and Nghe An provinces in October and November.
According to the WHO, there are around 45 million visually impaired people in the world and the figure will double by 2020 if effective measures are not taken.
Vietnam has 2 million visually impaired people, one-third of whom are too poor to afford treatment. At this year’s meeting, MoH and VNIO leaders called on domestic and foreign organisations and individuals to help poor, visually impaired people regain their signt.