Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
The second conference of the ASEAN Ophthalmology Society (AOS), alternately chaired by Vietnam this year, opened in Hanoi on October 29 with the participation of nearly 1,000 Vietnamese and 230 foreign ophthalmologists from ASEAN and the US, Japan, Australia and India.

The AOS was established in 2013 and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists of Thailand was its first Chair. Under its charter, the summit will be held biennially in member states.

During the three-day event, as many as 289 reports will be delivered in the English language focusing on cataracts, refractive disorders and blindness prevention, among others.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien said the Vietnamese Government has offered support to a nationwide drive on blindness prevention over the past years.

As a forerunner in Vietnam’s ophthalmology sector, the National Institute of Ophthalmology (NIO) has partnered with eye hospitals across the country to bring eye treatment to patients.

The conference affords a chance for Vietnamese eye doctors and their counterparts to share knowledge and experience, he said, adding that it has been forecast that nearly 75 million will be blind and hundreds of millions will be visually-impaired by 2020 across the globe.

On the occasion, 25 stalls of medicines and eye-care equipment made locally and internationally were also on display.

According to the NIO, the country recorded 17,000 cataract surgeries, 8,000 laser treatments and operations and 168,000 refractive disorder cases last year.

In the coming time, more efforts will concentrate on fundraising from non-governmental organisations, sponsors and philanthropists as well as strengthening training and international cooperation with Laos and Cambodia on blindness prevention.-VNA