Patient Dung after cataract removal surgery on Orbis Flying Eye Hospital in Vietnam

Vietnam: Dung Can See His Family Again

September 2019

Family man and farmer, Dung, started losing his sight to cataracts two years ago.

At first he was reluctant to get treatment as he wrongly thought he would become permanently blind and risk losing income. With both eyes severely impaired, he lost confidence and hope in doing things he enjoyed.

That was until he was selected as a special teaching case by our Volunteer Faculty during our Flying Eye Hospital project in Vietnam.

Dung, 55, was first presented to Hue Eye Hospital with a very mature, opaque cataract during the second week of our project in August 2019.

The major cause of blindness in Vietnam are cataracts, accounting for 74% of people living with blindness, according to a 2015 National Survey

He told us how his condition had blighted everyday living, saying: “I have 5 children, two boys and three girls. I am a farmer but for the past two months I have not been able to work. My eye had become really blurry after losing complete vision from the cataract. As soon as my eyes are back to normal, I need to go back to my farming.”

When he first developed cataracts, Dung was worried that surgery might cause permanent blindness. His family’s financial situation was not going well so he decided not to go down the surgery route.

Cataract patient Dung screened after surgery at Hue Eye Hospital in Vietnam

Dung was initially concerned that surgery may cause permanent blindness

I have been the main bread-winner for the family. It wasn’t an option to take the time to get treatment so I had to accept that my eye was getting blurry. During the last harvesting season, rice threshing caused my workplace to be very dusty and I think that contributed to the difficulty of my condition.

Dung

Orbis cataract patient

After being screened and diagnosed at Hue Eye Hospital, his case was selected for phacoemulsification surgical training by volunteer faculty member Dr. Jeffrey Pong, Clinical Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology University of Hong Kong.

The surgery meant that not only would Dung get his sight back but eye doctors in Vietnam would have an opportunity to deepen their learning of phacoemulsification techniques - recognized as the gold standard in cataract surgery.

With local teams (via the onboard classroom) and participants all over the world (via our telemedicine platform Cybersight) watching and asking questions during surgery - Dung will help other people live a life free from blindness.

Trainee eye doctors and Volunteer Faculty checking up on the progress of Dung's cataract removal surgery

Eye doctors following up on Dung's cataract surgery

Dung continued: “Over the past two months when my left eye got cloudy, I was worried that both eyes were going, and that I was becoming blind. As my vision depleted and got foggy, I got into an accident on my motorbike.”

“For the past couple of years, my right eye could not see due to the growing cataract, and the left eye was giving way too. I had become very worried and nervous for myself and my family as a whole. Before the operation, I could not go to work — even eating food own my own had become a burden. Going out, such as to a family wedding was so taxing as I did not have confidence in myself."

Following sight-saving surgery, a delighted Dung said: “When this doctor removed the bandage over my eye, I realized I have clear vision again, and I am so happy for that.

Dung's cataract removal surgery on Orbis Flying Eye Hospital in Vietnam was a success

Success! Dung can see clearly again after surgery

The first thing I want to do when I can leave this hospital room is to see my children and grandchildren clearly again. They have grown and I’m very excited to see them.

Dung

Orbis cataract patient

CATARACTS: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT

Read more

According to a 2015 national survey approximately half a million people are blind in both eyes and an additional two million people are visually impaired in Vietnam. The major cause of blindness are cataracts, accounting for 74% of people living with blindness.

By providing training, establishing referral networks, and increasing awareness of eye conditions, we’re helping people like Dung get the eye care they deserve.

Can you help people like Dung access the eye care they deserve?

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