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Fred Hollows Foundation extends support for cataract surgery

The Fred Hollows Foundation is continuing to help people in 10 provinces who have vision problems, especially cataracts, to ensure they have improved vision and a better quality of life.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continue the Sustainable Comprehensive Eye Care project was signed in Vientiane on Thursday between the Regional Director for East Asia of the Fred Hollows Foundation, Dr Phuc Huynh Tan, and Deputy Director General of the Health Care and Rehabilitation Department, Ministry of Health, Dr Buakhan Phakhounthong.
The Sustainable Comprehensive Eye Care project aims to provide people with better vision. The project is not only providing medical equipment and cataract surgeries but is doing a lot more in the field of eye health.
This includes broadening the knowledge of health workers, carrying out repairs at hospitals, and providing free eye treatment and cataract surgery in 10 provinces.
Dr Phuc Huynh Tan said “We will run the project for two more years because I care for these communities and it has been very successful so far. When we care for a community base we support the whole dis-trict and province, and if they are strong the whole country will become strong. Caring for communities is a good model for development, so we would like to continue the project.”
But the project has challenges, including physical access to rural communities. Many people live in remote and mountainous areas, he added. Meanwhile, Dr Buakhan thanked the Fred Hollows Foundation for its continued help to the people of the 10 provinces, to improve their quality of life and their vision. He also thanked the foundation for providing medical equipment and cataract surgeries.
He hoped the project would long continue to help people living in rural areas.
The Sustainable Comprehensive Eye Care project operates in 10 provinces including Luang Namtha, Savannakhet, Bokeo, Khammuan and Luang Prabang. The project began in 2015 and ended last year after providing more than AUD4.8 million.
But because so many people still require eye treatment, the decision was taken to extend the project until 2020.
The most common eye problem is cataracts, which carries the risk of blindness. However, cataracts can be removed through a simple surgical procedure and blindness can be prevented.
Cataracts are very common among people aged over 60, and are more likely among people with diabetes, those who have an eye injury, or those whose parents had cataracts, ophthalmologist Dr Phetsamone told Vientiane Times.
People over the age of 50 should see an eye specialist to have their eyes tested every three months and should wear sunglasses to protect their eyes against strong light. Those who suffer from any sort of eye problem should not buy medicine over the counter, but should see a specialist, he advised.

By Siladda Souliyong
(Latest Update August 13, 2019)

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