Until ORBIS partnered with Lijiang Charity Eye Hospital to establish a pediatric eye care center in China’s Yunnan province, children in Wenhua and other nearby villages had to travel six hours by bus to Kunming for ophthalmic care.
All of that has changed, now that the
Hospital has a pediatric unit. Children can now be treated close to home for strabismus, amblyopia, congenital cataract and other childhood eye diseases.
“Before ORBIS’s involvement in this field, there were only a few pediatric ophthalmologists in this entire province, and they mainly served in the central and eastern parts of
Yunnan, leaving the whole western region totally devoid of this kind of service,” said
Leshan Tan, ORBIS country program director for
China. “Since the establishment of the pediatric ophthalmology unit, more than 4,400 children have received treatment. Most of these children could never have afforded to travel to a distant pediatric center and would have grown up blind. What a tragedy.”
With ORBIS’s support, work began in March 2006 to establish a brand new pediatric eye care center at
Hospital. Essential equipment was purchased and installed, and through ORBIS-sponsored fellowships and hospital-based programs, both in-country and abroad, staff were trained in such specialties as pediatric ophthalmology, optometry and ophthalmic nursing.
The partner institution additionally established a network and referral system with community health workers and primary school teachers to provide much needed vision testing, referral for treatment of uncorrected refractive error and other eye diseases, and education of parents and children on the importance of pediatric eye health.
|Tain Lan puts to use the new screening skills
she learned at a four-day workshop arranged
by Lijiang Charity Eye Hospital. She can now
refer children to the hospital's new pediatric
unit for advanced treatment.
“Most people don’t realize their blindness can be treated or their sight improved,” said Tain Lan, a village health worker who attended one of the four-day training workshops. “Now that I can screen for cataract or refractive error, I can guide people to the services they need and help them see again.”
You can help
Children in Wenhua are fortunate to now have a pediatric eye care center within their reach. But many children still lack quality eye care that is affordable and accessible. With your support, ORBIS can develop additional eye care centers around the world so that other children and adults can avoid blindness or have their sight restored. Please give generously so that others may see.