Childhood blindness brings a lifetime of costs for care and dependency through a lack of employment opportunities. Uncorrected refractive error eg.myopia also prevents children from learning meaningfully, especially in rural schools where blackboards are the main tool for teaching. Half of childhood blindness can be avoided if the conditions were detected and treated early. This program aims to increase access to children's eye services in Vietnam so that children can reach their full potential.
More than 3 million children in Vietnam are visually impaired while another 23,000 children are blind in both eyes. Children's eyes are different to adults' and so are their eye diseases and treatments. Early detection of eye conditions is crucial for effective treatment but children's eye care services are poor in Vietnam. There is an urgent need to refurbish eye centres, provide equipment and train specialists to detect and treat children's eye problems in time.
This project helps to increase access of sustainable quality eye care services to Vietnam's children, especially girls and the poor. We will equip and train medical teams to provide surgical services to manage children's eye diseases. We will also establish vision centres and train technicians to prescribe and dispense glasses for children. Most importantly, we will train school health staff and community health workers to conduct regular vision screening to identify children with eye problems.
Annually under this Children Eye Care program, Orbis screens 250,000 children, treats nearly 30,000 children and supports more than 3,000 surgeries to prevent permanent vision loss. When children can see clearly again, they learn better in class and have a chance at a decent job. Restoring sight ensures that all children have equal opportunity to learn and participate in the creation of a strong, vibrant society. The earlier the treatment, the greater the educational and economic benefits.