Rural eye doctors learn important surgery in Shanghai

The first course teaching rural doctors how to perform cataract surgery started in Shanghai this week, meaning patients won't need to travel far to undergo the procedure.
Ti Gong

Eye doctors from grassroots hospitals undergo direction from local specialists in the performance of cataract surgery.

The first batch of 21 eye doctors from grassroots hospitals around China started their one-week training course at the national eye doctors' training program yesterday.

The training program, established by Shanghai Xinshijie Eye Hospital and Tongji University, plans to train over 100 eye doctors every year. Doctors attending the training come from seven provinces and Shanghai.

Cataract surgery will be the major training content of the program, as there is a big demand for professionals capable in this surgery to meet the demands of China's aging population.

Trainees will practice with pigs' eyes first, and then move on to the real surgery room to participate in patients' operations. 

“Previously, trainees would use grapes for practice before going on to real operations," said Dr Lian Jingcai, who is charge of the program. "We use pigs' eyes here, as pigs' eyes have a similar size and structure as human eyes, which allows trainees to gain a better understanding."

An experienced eye doctor can perform over 1,000 cataract surgeries a year, which greatly benefits local residents, Lin added. "Many of them currently have to go all the way to big city hospitals for the surgery because of the lack of professionals in their hometowns."

Dr Wang Yuyuan, a trainee at Jiange County, Sichuan Province, says the demand for such surgery is extremely high in small cities and rural areas. 

"With this program, many patients won't need to go to Shanghai and Beijing anymore — they can save money and receive good treatment where they live." 


Eye doctors from grassroots hospitals listen to a lecture from specialists during a national eye doctor training program.

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