Press Releases

Project Vision Charity Week
International Eye Specialists converge in Shantou to provide free treatment

23 November 2003


The Project Vision Charity Week organized by the Shantou University/Chinese University of Hong Kong Joint Shantou International Eye Center (JSIEC) commenced on Sunday. Hundreds of mainlanders with serious eye ailments will receive free consultation and treatment at JSIEC.

Using Shantou University Medical College (SUMC) as a base of operation, Project Vision Charity Week is just one of the programs sponsored by the Li Ka-shing Foundation to provide free medical care for the needy. Since 1998, SUMC’s faculty and students have provided 220,000 consultations and surgeries at a cost of over HK$10 million.

The Project Vision Charity Week was held in conjunction with the 7th National Telemedicine Education Symposium. On November 23, 2003, the commencement ceremony was jointly officiated by Huang Jiefu, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Health in Shantou University and by Mr. Li Ka-shing at Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong through video-conferencing technology.

Vice Minister Huang read out a message of congratulations from Vice Premier Wu Yi, who said that the Charity Week will help restore eyesight for those with serious eye diseases. It will also help to improve ethical standards and to raise public awareness of important health issues.

Mr. Li said people with normal vision may have difficulty empathizing with those who have lost their sight. The pain of living in permanent darkness is almost unimaginable to them.

“We are lucky to be able to see, but we must not forget those who suffer from eye illnesses. Thanks to advanced technology, there is much more we can do now to help them. They need our care, and they need our contributions,” Mr. Li said. “This Charity Week is only a start. But it will bring new hope to many of our fellow countrymen who suffer from severe visual difficulties as well as raise greater awareness of their plight.”

During the videoconference, Mr. Li talked with a boy from Guangdong who had just received an operation. Mr. Li was pleased to know that the boy’s vision had markedly improved and encouraged him to take good care of his health and to study hard.

The 13-year-old boy lives on a farm and was diagnosed with leukemia years ago. After a bone marrow transplant, he developed a cataract condition which blurred his vision.

Professor Dennis Lam, Director of the JSIEC, and other top international specialists had been screening suitable candidates for surgical procedures over the past few days. Major types of operations include Macular Surgery, Pediatric Cataract, Ectopia Lentis, Vitreous Surgery, and Glaucoma.

Most of the cases are considered complicated eye diseases. For example, a 34-year-old teacher with acute myopia, cataract, vitreoretinal disease leading to glaucoma had been treated numerous times without positive results. She came to Charity Week after reading an article and now she can see again thanks to specialist care she received.

Sponsored by the Li Ka-shing Foundation, Project Vision Charity Week, which kicked off on November 21 at JSIEC, is jointly organized by Shantou University Medical College and the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Professor Lam said that specialists are using the most advanced medical equipment to treat these complicated diseases. “We would like to develop JSIEC into one of the most advanced ophthalmology referral centers in mainland China by accepting cases from across the country. This will bring new hope to those with complicated eye diseases.”

The key topic of the 7th National Telemedicine Education Symposium was Macular Surgery Updates, presented by Professor Lam and Professor Yasuo Tano of Osaka University Medical School. Instruction courses and surgery demonstrations were conducted by ophthalmology specialists taking part in Project Vision Charity Week.

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health have been the symposium’s honorary sponsors over the past six years. Internationally renowned medical schools such as Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and Lund have participated in the symposiums in years past, raising the level of medical expert and promoting academic exchange in important areas.

Vice premier Wu Yi said the 7th National Telemedicine Education Symposium strengthens the academic exchange between the mainland and its Hong Kong and overseas counterparts, contributes new medical knowledge, and promotes tele-education as a viable mode of knowledge transmission.

Professor Lam said the aim of the symposium was to share medical knowledge and expertise with mainland ophthalmologists.

23 Nov 2003

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