Healthcare staff give a patient an eye examination. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI – The rate of blindness among people aged 50 and older has dropped rapidly over the past decade, standing at 1.3 per cent in 2018 from 3.1 per cent in 2008, according to a survey conducted in 14 cities and provinces.
The information was released by Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO) Nguyễn Xuân Hiệp at the 2019 national ophthalmology conference in Vinh in the central province of Nghe An last week.
According to the survey, the estimated number of blind people in Viet Nam had decreased from 443,700 in 2000 to 370,640 in 2007 and 269,380 in 2018.
Hiep said the number of people with corneal scars was decreasing, but those with cataracts, refractive errors and diabetic retinopathy was on the rise.
Jointly organized by the Vietnam Ophthalmological Society (VOS) and the VNIO, the event saw the participation of over 2,000 local delegates, 80 experts from France, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Australia, Singapore and the Republic of Korea, and representatives from over 50 pharmaceutical firms.
Addressing the conference, Huynh Phuong Ly, chief representative of Brien Holden Vision Institute in Viet Nam, proposed measures to fight blindness, saying that it was necessary to develop satellite hospital networks, promote training and technology transfer, and improve the quality of human resources in the sector.
Attention should be paid to strengthening and consolidating the network of eye care service providers to ensure easy access to services for children, the elderly and the disabled, she said.
Ava Hossain, a representative from the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO), said that Viet Nam needed to take the initiative in co-operating with other countries, organizations and individuals in and outside the country in research, training and technical and financial assistance to better the quality of services in the field.
Short-term training courses will be arranged in the framework of the conference, aiming to help doctors learn about new knowledge and technologies.
Ophthalmology-related pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies are exhibiting their products at 52 booths at the event.
The conference is held every year to evaluate the prevention of blindness in the country and serves as a forum for experts to share the latest research.-VNS