Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu cut a ribbon to debut an eye bank under t he Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO) in Hanoi on March 30.

This is the first eye and tissue bank in Vietnam since the Law on the Donation and Transplantation of Human Tissues and Organs came into effect on July 1, 2007.

According to initial statistics, Vietnam has around 300,000 people who are blind due to cornea diseases and there are an additional 15,000 people blinded of the disease each year. The establishment of the bank is expected to meet the demands of hundreds of thousands of blind people who are waiting for cornea transplants.

The VNIO has so far conducted 136 cornea transplants with corneas provided by 69 people, and 10,437 people have registered to donate their corneas when they pass away. However, around 300,000 blind people are still waiting for transplants.

The Eye Bank, a non-profit organisation, will receive, assess, classify, preserve and distribute corneas and eye tissues to eye establishments nationwide. It will also be involved in scientific training and research and international cooperation in the field in accordance with the law.
As part of its humanitarian mission, the bank will call for organisations and individuals nationwide to contribute and assist in cornea donations and transplants./.