Aided by friendly international organizations, the Tibet Autonomous Region is making every effort to cure and prevent eye ailments that threaten people’s health on the plateau.
According to the information released at a symposium on dealing with cataracts, held in Lhasa in late May, the first eye ailment sample survey in Tibet conducted by the Department of Health of Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet Development Fund (TDF) and the Seva Foundation was completed after a journey of 15,000 km (9,321 miles) lasting more than 100 days.
The survey covered 15,000 people from more than 70 villages of over 20 counties in the three prefectures of Shannan, Nagqu and Nyingchi, which represent the farming, stockbreeding, and forestry areas in Tibet.
Because of its high altitude, the Tibetan plateau has a high incidence of eye ailments, especially cataracts, which plagues 380,000 people, 14.6 percent of the population.
During the course of the survey, the Tibet Development Fund invited experts of the Seva Foundation, Nepal NEP Ophthalmology Project, CBM-Germany, doctors and nurses from People’s Hospital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibetan Medicine Hospital and the People’s Hospital of Lhasa to form a medical squad named the “Light Project.” It provided special free medical treatment, involving artificial crystalloid transplant, to more than 700 people who suffered from cataracts. To date, there are 12,000 people who suffered blindness caused by cataract in Tibet can see again.
Ngapo Jigyuan, deputy secretary of Tibet Development Fund said the eye ailments sample survey could help to design Tibet’s future eye health plan, fulfill the tasks of the state for prevention and cure of blindness and also help sufferers living on the Tibetan plateau. The survey was also designed to implement the proposal of the World Health Organization known as “Vision 2020: Right to Sight.”
(Xinhua News Agency, translated by Li Liangdu for china.org.cn on June 14, 2002)