The Challenge

Approximately half a million people are known to be blind in Vietnam. Poor eye care, infrastructure, a shortage of trained ophthalmic professionals and limited access to affordable quality eye care services encumber the nation’s eye care situation. And for many Vietnamese, treatment is sought out too late and only for the most serious eye conditions.

Our Response

  • We focus on pediatric ophthalmology, corneal disease, and corneal donation, and cataract services
  • We’ve improved access to comprehensive eye care among rural communities
  • We’re building the capacity of national institutions to take the lead in blindness prevention services and the provision of ophthalmic training


Our Presence

We began collaborating with Vietnamese eye care facilities in 1996, through our hospital-based programs. In 2000, we began conducting long-term eye care projects with local partners to carry out intensive and appropriate interventions for sustainable blindness prevention. We established a permanent office in Vietnam in 2003. Since then, we’ve promoted the delivery of comprehensive eye care services in ten rural provinces of Vietnam through capacity building, infrastructure development and education.

We’ve also worked to dramatically increase the availability of local corneal tissue for sight-restoring transplantation surgery by advocating for the implementation of legislation for human body tissues in 2004, which allowed the opening of Vietnam’s first eye bank.

Success in Vietnam

  • Orbis helped establish Vietnam’s first national eye bank
  • We funded the first wet lab in Vietnam, in Hanoi, where ophthalmologists can practice surgical procedures
  • We initiated the development of the first working group in Vietnam on VISION 2020 — a global effort to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020
  • We opened two Child Friendly Eye Care Units in rural Phu Tho and Ha Nam provinces in 2011
  • We strengthened Vietnam's capacity to address childhood blindness by setting up the first pediatric eye care networks of skilled health personnel