Fighting blindness

There are 400,000 adults and 23,000 children in Vietnam who are blind. While blindness in Vietnam has decreased over the last decade, the country continues to struggle with providing eye care, especially in rural areas. Quality of care, training and human resources still remain problematic, and overall awareness of how to prevent blindness is low.

Bao, Huy and phong had many difficulties when they were born with eye diseases but eye surgeries have changed their lives forever.

Success in Vietnam

We began collaborating with Vietnam’s ophthalmic communities through hospital-based projects in 1996. A permanent office was established in Hanoi in 2003. Orbis has been providing the highest level of expertise to support the development of eye care services and blindness prevention in Vietnam – especially in the areas of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), pediatric and cataract services and in establishing an eye bank.

Since 2015, Orbis has worked to strengthen the eye health system in the country, focusing on the quality of services and human resources.

In 2010 Dr. Black, a pediatric ophthalmologist from New Orleans, Louisiana, treated eight-year-old Quang Chien for strabismus. Find out what happened when Dr Black returned to see her again.

What We're Doing Next

Orbis plans to address the constraints of eye care system in Vietnam through three key strategies: expanding quality pediatric eye care services in more regions across the country; strengthening human resources for eye health; and increasing the availability of eye care services for diabetic patients.

Our work includes developing models to ensure quality of care and quality of human resources that can be replicated and maintained by the government. The first model reflecting international standards for diabetic retinopathy – which poses a risk to four million people with diabetes in Vietnam – is in the pilot stage and requires further resources to be replicated nationwide.

With your support we can continue reforming ophthalmic education in Vietnam and advocating for eye health to become a priority on the public health agenda.

A paper by the Vision Loss Expert Group has revealed that unless we improve access to eye health services, an aging and growing global population means that we could see the number of people who are blind triple to 115 million by 2050.

Orbis believes the best way to tack­le this prob­lem is to work in part­ner­ship to help strength­en coun­tries’ health­care systems.
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