[health-vn] Lack of opticians puts kids’ sight at risk
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Mon May 11 00:21:46 EST 2009
Lack of opticians puts kids’ sight at risk
Students at the Nguyen Gia Thieu High School in Ha Noi have eye tests. Four
million Vietnamese children have eye defects and need to wear glasses. — VNA/VNS
Photo Bich Ngoc
HA NOI — Four million Vietnamese children, or about 15 per cent, have eye
defects and need to wear glasses. However, most have their aids prescribed and
made by unqualified people, which can harm their vision.
However, chief of the National Eye Hospital’s Grassroots Direction Division
Nguyen Chi Dung said the rate of children wearing properly prescribed and made
glasses was slowly rising, particularly in major cities.
Dung said the high rate of children looking through incorrect lenses was caused
by using technicians in unqualified shops.
Ha Thi Vinh, an official from the Ministry of Health’s Equipment and Health Work
Department, said more than 400 eye technicians had been trained in the last four
Viet Nam has about 2,000 spectacle shops, but no statistics on the number that
"But later this year, all spectacle shops will be required to have staff who
have earned a certificate from a medical secondary school and also have
two-years’ experience," said Vinh.
Head of the Naional Eye Hospital’s eye department, Vu Bich Thuy, said her
department checked the eyes of hundreds of children daily and found many
"Many children wear glasses, but they still find it difficult to see," said Thuy.
Thuy said a pair of glasses did not only need to have right prescription, but
the right width and length of rims. However, many shops had no technicians
qualified to meet this demand.
"Therefore, many patients report seeing images out of shape and feel aches and
pains in their eyes," she said.
Le Thi Kim Dung from the Ministry of Education and Training said eye checks
carried out at schools were often conducted perfunctorily as only five of the 63
cities and provinces nationwide had doctors in charge of school health.
Dung said most staff in charge of school health were teachers with little
knowledge of health matters. Some eye problems were made worse by conditions at
school, like lack of light.
Dung said most teachers were not aware of the importance of eye care for
students. "They have not been trained to protect eyes, so they can offer little
guidance," she said.
Nguyen Chi Dung said the rate of patients with short-sight, long-sight,
astigmatism and other defects was increasing throughout Asia.
Dung said Viet Nam needed to pay more attention to the problem before it got out
of hand. — VNS
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