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Laos, Chinese medics provide free cataract surgery

Chinese and Lao ophthalmologists are providing free cataract surgery to enable impoverished people with poor eyesight to improve their vision.
The procedures are being performed under the China-Laos Friendship Cataract Surgery Programme, with support from China’s GX Foundation.
People in Vientiane and nearby provinces who have cataract problems will receive treatment at the National Ophthalmology Centre in Vientiane.

A senior official from the Centre, which is run by Ministry of Health, told Vientiane Times she expects that cataract surgery will be performed on about 200 people.
She said the surgery dramatically reduces the magnitude of blindness, which is largely avoidable if caused by cataracts. The procedures are part of the government’s obligation to provide the highest standard of health for its citizens. In 2020, more than 600 people underwent cataract surgery, many of whom were elderly people.
The China-Laos Friendship Cataract Surgery Programme has helped many poor patients regain or improve their eyesight. It enables the poorest people to benefit from high quality medical services and to live more independently following corrective surgery.
The GX Foundation is supporting cataract surgery in Laos for the first time this year. The programme also aims to raise public awareness about the prevention and treatment of vision loss.
In addition, the programme is a step forward in strengthening the friendship and comprehensive cooperation between China and Laos and in particular between Vientiane and the GX Foundation.
According to the National Ophthalmology Centre, a recent survey estimated that 3 percent of the Lao population aged 50 and over is blind. This prevalence level contrasts with that of a developed country such as Australia, where the number is less than 1 percent.
The overall incidence rate among populations in Asean member countries is 0.1 percent. Cataracts occur mostly found in the elderly, while others occur because of eye injuries, diabetes and genetic defects. But the condition can easily be treated, according to the World Health Organisation.
Primarily, blindness in Laos is caused by cataracts, while poor vision is caused by uncorrected refractive errors.
The prevalence of blindness is estimated to be as high as 5 percent in some rural or remote areas of the country.
Women account for up to twice as many cases of blindness as men. Besides the impact of vision loss on a person’s quality of life, there is also a substantial economic loss associated with blindness, including increased unemployment, decreased productivity and increased welfare costs.
Preventable blindness is a significant global health problem, which hinders development and disproportionately impacts the poor, yet many cases can be prevented or treated.



By  Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update
June 11,

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