Illustrative image (Source: etch.com)

Can Tho (VNA) – The 2016 national ophthalmological conference took place in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on October 20, attracting more than 1,400 domestic and foreign delegates.

More than 200 scientific papers have been submitted to the conference this year.

The conference is held every year to evaluate the prevention of blindness in the country and serve as a forum for experts in the field to share the outcomes of latest research.

According to Director of the Central Eye Hospital Nguyen Xuan Hiep, short-term training courses will be organized within the event’s framework, providing a chance for local eye doctors to share treatment experience with leading international ophthalmologists.

The doctor noted that the number of blind people over 50 years old in Vietnam continues to drop strongly, from 443,700 in 2000 to 329,300 in 2015. If including those under 50, the total number of blind people is around 378,700.

According to him, the main cause of blindness is cataract (74 percent of the cases)

Statistics of the Vietnam Ophthalmologists Association show there are nearly 2,000 eye doctors working in both public and private hospitals. While the number is sufficient to meet treatment demand, most of the doctors work in cities and delta areas, leaving remote regions lacking in eye experts.

Delegates at the conference shared the opinion that more eye doctors should be trained for disadvantaged areas and efforts to improve access to eye care should be included in health care development plans, in order to achieve the target of reducing the rate of blindness among under-50 people to 1.6 percent by 2020.-VNA