A female farmer has her eyes screened for cataracts at a partner eye care center in Vietnam

Your generosity helped Ha regain her sight!

This is Ha, a hard-working farmer from Vietnam who lived with poor vision for years because of cataracts. Ha lives in Lai Chau province, a remote region of Vietnam where access to quality medical care is scarce.

A 56-year-old female farmer from Lai Chau province, Vietnam, smiles in an Orbis partner hospital treatment room

Ha has a reason to smile again after having her sight restored.

Living with blurred vision as well as struggling to see from a distance made life difficult for the 56-year-old. She couldn't do chores or farming work without bumping into or tripping over things. And with a family to take care of, her vision was even more critical.

Lai Chau is found in the mountainous northwest of the country bordering China. 85% of the population are ethnic minority with 70% living in extreme poverty.

With only 11 doctors and 15 nurses trained in eye care, to serve half a million people, we’ve been working shoulder to shoulder with partners to improve access to vision care by increasing training and raising awareness of eye health at the grassroots level.

We learned that many from Ha’s community had never had an eye test, especially those living in remote villages where the closest community health clinic is a day’s travel away.

Men on motorcycles driving through streets in mountainous Lai Chau province, Vietnam

Lai Chau is a mountainous area where many face extreme poverty and limited access to eye care.

After years of putting up with poor vision, Ha was persuaded by her brother to attend a vision screening at a local clinic. She was then referred to Tan Uyen District Health Center and eventually to Lai Chau General Hospital, where she was diagnosed with cataracts and offered sight-restoring surgery at no cost to her — all thanks to Orbis supporters.

The idea of surgery scared her at first, and she worried it would go wrong and she would end up permanently blind — until she remembered a neighbor had recently had surgery and all had gone well.

The free cataract surgery was made possible thanks to the Orbis-led Xova project bringing quality eye care services closer to the people in Ha’s community. Through the project, thousands of people were screened with 400 referred for surgery.

After surgery at the beginning of 2024, Ha’s vision has improved remarkably; she can now live and work again with relative ease. “I can see much more clearly now. I’m so grateful and happy. With good vision, it will be much easier for me to live and work.”

A huge heartfelt thank you to our generous supporters and partners for making our work possible. Thanks to the Orbis community, children and adults in remote parts of Vietnam can get the access to quality eye care they need to thrive.

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