Over 5 million people suffer from diabetes in Vietnam, with rates continuing to rise at an alarming pace. One of the most serious complications is diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the country. Many patients are unaware of the risks and do not receive regular eye exams to catch the disease early, when treatment is most effective.
To address this growing public health concern, the nonprofit Orbis International has implemented a comprehensive program focused on diabetic retinopathy screening and treatment in southern Vietnam. A major component is building capacity among local medical staff to detect and manage the disease. This includes specialized training for non-ophthalmic providers, like nurses and community health workers, on how to screen for diabetic retinopathy using retinal imaging cameras. Over 140 doctors and nurses have now been trained.
The program has also worked extensively on raising public awareness of diabetic eye disease through communications campaigns targeting both medical staff and patients. Messages emphasizing the importance of regular eye exams have reached hundreds of thousands of people. Orbis also leveraged innovative artificial intelligence technology that can analyze retinal images for signs of disease in seconds, making screening easier to scale up.
Thanks to these coordinated efforts, over 96,000 diabetic patients have been screened over the last several years, with 11,000 receiving sight-saving treatment. Diabetic retinopathy detection is now integrated into standard diabetes care nationwide. This has built a strong foundation for preventing vision loss in Vietnam in partnership with local health leaders.
Read the full article in Ophthalmology Times.