China – Project Vision Cataract Surgery Training Project

As a nation, China has a severe shortage of cataract surgeons. About 70% of the population lives in rural areas. Less than half of the country's 23,000 ophthalmologists perform surgery and most rural eye doctors have little or no training in cataract surgery. Because of deficiencies in equipment and training, the outcomes of those cataract surgeries performed in county hospitals serving the rural population have been historically poor. This, in turn, has undermined the confidence of rural patient populations in the procedure.

Combining China's inefficient system for training cataract surgeons with the economic incentives for urban practice has meant that quality cataract surgery is either unavailable or unaffordable for much of China’s population.

The ASCRS Foundation is working in partnership with Project Vision to establish three cataract surgery-training centers to teach a new generation of ophthalmologists. With the support of the Chinese government, these surgeons will eventually staff over 100 rural cataract centers that will be developed to treat the 6.7 million Chinese currently waiting for surgery.

"The ASCRS Foundation/Project Vision partnership is an exciting, audacious, and noble endeavor to provide a scalable and financially self-sustaining solution to the epidemic of cataract blindness in China. With local and central governmental support and a proven clinical and economic model for delivering ophthalmic care to underserved rural populations, the challenge will be to train many competent, high volume cataract surgeons," David F. Chang, MD, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco and ASCRS Foundation Board member.

 

Read an interview with David F. Chang, MD, regarding the ASCRS Foundation’s partnership with Project Vision in China.