The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has received a generous donation of nearly HK$78 million from the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) Charities Trust for the establishment of two ophthalmology programmes, namely “CUHK Jockey Club Children’s Eye Care Programme (CUHK Jockey Club CECP)” and “CUHK Jockey Club Ophthalmic Microsurgical Training Programme (CUHK Jockey Club OMTP)”, to promote eye health in Hong Kong.
An opening ceremony for the two programmes was held today (14 July) at the Hong Kong Eye Hospital. The ceremony was officiated at by Professor John LEONG Chi-yan, Chairman of the Hospital Authority, Ms. Imelda CHAN, Head of Charities (Grant Making – Elderly, Rehabilitation, Medical, Environment & Family), HKJC, Professor Rocky S. TUAN, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, Professor Francis Ka Leung CHAN, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK, and Professor Clement Chee Yung THAM, Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at CUHK.
Forty percent of children aged 6-8 years in Hong Kong have eye problems
Short-sightedness, also known as myopia, is becoming a serious problem amongst children in Hong Kong. As these children grow up, they will have a progressive and irreversible increase in the degree of short-sightedness. Severe short-sightedness not only impairs their vision and their ability to learn, but also increases the risk of other eye diseases in future, such as glaucoma and retinal detachment.
Professor John LEONG Chi-yan remarked at the ceremony, “Eyes are the windows to the soul and should be well protected. A comprehensive eye examination at an early age could ensure that our children will have a healthy development in their vision and allow early intervention. This would also lead to better visual outcomes and reduce the burden to our public healthcare service in the long run.”
Ms. Imelda CHAN said the Club had long been committed to development of the city’s medical and health services. It had worked closely with CUHK on a number of projects, in addition to supporting these two programmes providing eye examinations for children and advanced training for medical professionals. For example, the Club had also supported the setting-up of the CUHK Medical Centre and recently launched the CUHK Jockey Club Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme to deepen public understanding of obesity-related cancers and raise their awareness of cancer prevention.
Professor Rocky S. TUAN remarked, “With the tremendous support from all parties, I believe that the two new programmes will greatly contribute to the medical service in Hong Kong by providing excellent healthcare to the public and by reinforcing Hong Kong’s leading role in ophthalmic training within the Asia Pacific region.”
Rising demand for ophthalmic microsurgical training
As the population ages, the number of elderly patients suffering from major eye diseases, such as cataract, glaucoma and retinal diseases is constantly on the rise. Hence, more effective eye surgery training, free from risks to patients, is very much needed to train up a new generation of eye doctors in the latest ophthalmic microsurgery.
Professor THAM, also Director of CUHK Jockey Club OMTP, emphasised, “Ophthalmic surgeries require highly specialised skills. Nowadays, almost all eye surgeries are performed under an operating microscope, which require very fine and specialised skills. And such microscopic surgery is often performed under local anesthesia, when the patient is fully awake. Considering the rising demand, we have developed the first ophthalmic microsurgical training platform in Hong Kong to provide comprehensive, structured and well-supervised surgical training to our local medical professionals. Young eye doctors can now learn and practise new surgical procedures and skills, while being completely risk-free to patients. The simulated training platform also allows surgical learning in a much less stressful environment for our young doctors.”
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