Project Vision: A Program for Sustainable Eye Care in China

Nathan G. Congdon, MD, MPH


Medscape Ophthalmology 

In This Article


When western ophthalmologists think of a "cataract program," the image that most often arises may be one of a trained and fully equipped team traveling to a distant country to perform large numbers of surgeries in a short period of time and then departing. Or perhaps we think of the famous ORBIS airplane,[1] laden with the latest equipment and specialists, who perform cutting-edge surgeries over a frenetic 10-day visit. There are other types of programs, however, and this article highlights one model: the Hong Kong-based Project Vision,* which is working on the local level to eradicate cataracts in China (Figure 1).

Patients after cataract surgery at the Project Vision Center in Sanrao.

As with other programs, Project Vision's ophthalmologists operate with the latest Zeiss (Dublin, California) and Leica (Wetzler, Germany) microscopes, performing sight-saving cataract surgeries in poor, rural areas of China; unlike other programs, however, its ophthalmologists are local. The program employs rural Chinese doctors who have been meticulously trained in the latest sutureless surgery by Prof. Dennis Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his collaborators, and who live and work in the rural communities, seeking to provide a sustainable solution to cataracts, China's leading cause of blindness.

*For more information on Project Vision, or to become involved, please visit their Web site at


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