More than 10,000 primary and secondary school students in Kon Tum Province have been screened for vision problems with more than 800 of them receiving eyeglasses thanks to ChildSight, an eye care project that improves the vision of children in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam.


Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Helen Keller International and the Kon Tum provincial departments of Health and Education and Training, the pediatric eye health care project also trained nearly 300 teachers and health workers from 100 primary and secondary schools on screening skills.

Each school was equipped with a screening toolkit, and the trained teachers checked their students for refractive errors at the beginning of a new school year.

"We are very happy with the results of this project and hope that the best practices adopted by Kon Tum Province will be considered by other provinces," said USAID/Vietnam Mission Director Francis Donovan.

Through screening and specialized check-up for those in need, 13 school children have been diagnosed with complicated eye diseases such as cataract, uveitis, posterior capsule pacification and ptosis and referred to Ho Chi Minh Eye Hospital for additional treatment and care.

"This project is very significant to Kon Tum province as it has helped students improve their vision and also improved the awareness of children, teachers and parents about eye health," said Dr. Nguyen Thi Ven, Director of Kon Tum Health Department.

In addition to improving the vision of school children, the project has strengthened the capacity of provincial health personnel in pediatric ophthalmology and provided surgical equipment to Kon Tum General Hospital and Kon Tum Center for Social Disease Prevention and Control in order for them to provide follow-up care for more complicated cases.

It is estimated that globally there are around 815 million school-aged children who require some form of vision correction to see clearly. In developing countries alone the estimates are of 180 million children who could benefit from vision correction. The majority of these children do not have access to affordable eye examination or a pair of glasses.
Children with poor eye sight are more likely to suffer from poor academic performance, school absenteeism and dropout rates are higher and long term career prospects are poorer.

Read more on the Impact of Child Vision on Child Development.

Read the original press release from Helen Keller International.

Find out more about Helen Keller International.