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Building up a model for prevention of blindness at the primary level in Liaoning Province

Published: 24.05.2021
Shane Hage Regional Director Asia Pacific

In Sept 2020, He Vision Group (HVG), together with Icare Finland Oy and Santen Pharmaceutical (China) reached a cooperation agreement intent on building up a network to prevent blindness at the primary care level. This project will select 10 primary medical institutions in the city and 50 eye health posts in rural areas, equipping them with AI-based and portable medical devices, and human resources training to improve primary eye health service.

In Nov. 2020, He Vision Group hosted an opening ceremony for this project, inviting leaders from the Health Commission of Shenyang, CEO of Santen, Sales Manager of Icare, and 64 health workers from primary medical institutions. In the ceremony, we introduced the prevention of blindness model, the intelligent devices and imparted basic eye health knowledge to the attendees.

From 1st to 5th Dec, all the devices and consumables were distributed to the 10 cooperation centers and 50 eye health posts, and training provided to the health workers and doctors. The screening with the devices was actually carried out from 7th to 20th, as the 2nd outbreak of COVID-19 negatively influenced the outpatient and the primary medical institutions which closed at the end of the Dec. However, over the 2 week’s duration, we had fruitful output.

The total number of eye examination done were 1088 (647 in city area, 441 in rural areas), among which 150 patients were referred to the hospital, with the referral rate 13.8%. 13 patients were already operated in Dec, including 2 pterygiums, 8 cataracts, 1 combined surgery of glaucoma and cataract, 1 angle-closure glaucoma, and 1 asteroid hyalosis. There were 42 patients with suspected glaucoma followed up by the patient management system and cloud platform, of which 3 patients had high eye pressure (≥ 21mmHg), checked by iCare tonometer.

Apart from that, over the 2 weeks, we organized five trainings for 100 primary health workers regarding common eye disease knowledge, including glaucoma, DR, cataract, and explained social focus issues to effectively improve diagnosis and treatment, so that patients can be detected early and treated. We organized two lectures with a total of 50 attendees to explain the management and prevention of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, diabetes related eye disease and glaucoma.

For 2021, in order to increase accessibility to primary eye care services, raise awareness of eye care, and effectively monitor and manage chronic eye diseases, the following measures will be adopted in the project:

  • Comprehensive eye examinations, including slit-lamp, intraocular pressure measurement and fundus camera;
  • Volunteers of interns to support the work at cooperation centers, especially over the period of Aug-Oct, as the primary institutions undertake large amounts of health examinations of elderly population;
  • He Vision Group will organize outreach activities at the cooperation centers;

In 2021, He Vision Group will organize 35 prevention of blindness training in the city and rural areas respectively to consolidate knowledge of common eye diseases, patients life-cycle management and so forth, excluding epidemic situation. It is expected to have 700 trainees; with regard to science lecture to patients, they plan to organize 132 sessions with a total patients of 6000 who will benefit from the project.