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'Sight First China Action' Sees Results in Tibet

Nearly 1,280 cataract sufferers in the Tibet Autonomous Region regained their eyesight last year, thanks to a state-sponsored medical program.

The majority of the patients were local farmers and herdsmen, ranging in age from four to 93.

Natural condition makes Tibetan people easier to get cataract

Due to high altitude and excessive exposure to ultra-violet rays, Tibetans have a cataract incidence rate double that of other parts of the country. Yet most counties and townships in Tibet have no eye hospitals.

The current program is the fourth, and the largest, of the " Sight First China Action" project, aimed at helping Chinese cataract sufferers regain their sight.

Patients get treatment

More than 4,800 patients with eye diseases in Tibet's 32 counties were diagnosed and received proper treatment last year. All cataract sufferers have had artificial lenses implanted.

Some individuals and 11 work units were commended at a meeting held last Friday in Lhasa, capital city of Tibet, for their hard work and enthusiasm in this endeavor.

Sight First China Action project

The "Sight First China Action" project was launched in 1997 by the Ministry of Health, the Chinese Disabled Persons' Federation, and Lions Club International. It aimed to help 1.75 million Chinese people regain their eyesight and to train 11,000 ophthalmologists at rural hospitals across China between 1997 and 2001.

So far more than 1.2 million Chinese cataract patients have been operated on and some 11,000 medical workers have been trained.

(People's Daily February 5, 2002)

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