According to a white paper on China’s eye health, the country is home to the largest number of blind and visually impaired people in the world, with over 600 million people suffering from myopia, and 208 million cataract patients.
However the demand for treatment of such conditions outstrips the capacity of the healthcare system, with only 44,800 ophthalmologists nationwide, mainly located in big cities. As a result, many patients with eye conditions end up going blind in rural and remote areas due to lack of timely treatment.
To this end, Aier Eye Hospital Group last month announced a donation of 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) to two non-profit organizations previously established by the company.
The Aiyan Foundation will use the donation for the following:
- 3 billion yuan ($440.49 million) for carrying out basic eye disease relief projects with other NGOs, and establishing a national eye health relief system covering all eye conditions;
- 2 billion yuan to set up a special fund for the prevention and control of myopia in children and adolescents;
- 600 million yuan to set up a special fund for the training of primary ophthalmologists and general practitioners targeting community and village first-level medical institutions;
- 1 billion yuan to create dedicated “eye stations” in major hospitals;
- 200 million yuan to support the development of ophthalmic epidemiological investigations and research on eye health-related topics;
- 4 billion yuan to support the national rural revitalization strategy, establish 20,000 grassroots eye disease diagnosis and assistance points, as well as to fund the purchase of 20,000 sets of AI ophthalmic diagnosis equipment.
Xiangjiang Foundation will focus on funding the training of ophthalmologists and the academic research they conduct:
- 3 billion yuan will be provided to set up a special scientific research fund for ophthalmology;
- 1 billion yuan to strengthen cooperation with foreign universities and scientific research institutions;
- 1 billion yuan to set up a global ophthalmology research award;
- 5 billion yuan to establish an international ophthalmology medical school.