Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology Nguyen Xuan Hiep addressed the congress on November 8 (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The number of children suffering from refraction is increasing in Vietnam, particularly in big cities where nearly 40 percent of children aged between 6-15 years old have contracted eye refractive defects.

At the annual congress of the Vietnam Ophthalmological Society (VOS), jointly held by the VOS and the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO) in Ho Chi Minh City on November 8, VNIO Director Nguyen Xuan Hiep said that the refraction rate among rural children is 15-20 percent lower compared to that of children living in urban areas.

A VNIO survey showed that some 3 million children with poor vision or impaired sight are in need of examinations and prescribed glasses, he said, stating that quality of eye care in Vietnam still falls short of expectations.

There are around 16,400 children who have impaired vision due to retinal damage, corneal abrasion, cataracts, and glaucoma. However, Vietnam is still short of qualified treatment facilities, while the eye care capacity in provincial hospitals remains weak.

“The Government needs to draw up policies to develop the optical examination and treatment system in order to reduce the risk of blindness among children”, Hiep stressed.

Vietnam is striving to increase the rate of children receiving refraction check-ups to 70 percent, he added.

The VOS Congress 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City drew the participation of nearly 2,000 delegates, including experts from Australia, China, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Thailand.

It offers a good opportunity for domestic and international ophthalmological experts to exchange their views and experiences, as well as update each other on new knowledge, studies, and qualification improvements in the field of ophthalmology.

There will be 20 training courses on different specialties to be undertaken by leading Vietnamese and international experts with the aim of updating knowledge and approaches to ophthalmology in the region.

The event will run until November 10.–VNA