Vietnam: Now that Khang can see, nothing stands in his way

August 2019

Six-year-old Khang from Vietnam was born with ptosis, Later, he developed a squint which - if left untreated - could cause blindness. Thanks to the help of our supporters and amazing partners who enabled him to have the two sight-saving surgeries he needed, this bright boy can look forward to a bright future.

We first met Khang at his school. We watched him from the back of the classroom as Khang, glasses on, eagerly waved his hand in the air to answer a question. The subject was math and Khang was so keen to share the correct answer.

Later, when we sat together on the floor of us his home playing with building blocks, he told us that math and literature are his favourite subjects – apparently math is “easy” according to Khang!

Khang is a bright boy. His father told us that he likes school a lot and that he never wants to miss it – even for his surgery on board the Flying Eye Hospital!

Khang is an extremely bright boy. Math and literature are his favourite subjects

Khang was born with ptosis. Quite a marked condition, his parents noticed immediately. When they discovered that a screening would be taking place at Binh Dinh Eye Hospital, they took Khang in the hope that something could be done to help.

It was only then that Khang was also diagnosed with strabismus (squint), which – if left untreated – can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye) and from that, even legal blindness in the affected eye.

At this point, Khang had only been in nursery school, so his parents hadn’t realized quite how much he had been struggling with his vision.

Gallery: Life at home in Vietnam

“I was told we had to go to Ho Chi Minh City for treatment, but we couldn’t afford it,” his father explains. But then they discovered that the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital would be visiting Binh Dinh, where the family lives.

Khang underwent two surgeries – one on board the Flying Eye Hospital to treat his strabismus, and a second to treat his ptosis, which took place at the partner hospital, Binh Dinh Eye Hospital.

No one in the family had ever undergone a surgery of any kind, so naturally the family were worried about their young son undergoing two complex eye surgeries.

Before the first surgery, I was a bit nervous - what if there could be complications? But then after they successfully did the first surgery, I was relieved… I was glad because there was modern equipment on the plane. Everyone in the family is happy. I want to thank all the supporters of Orbis.

Khang's father

Looking at Khang, you would never be able to tell he’d undergone two operations. He’s bright and a little cheeky. He teased us, saying that he “doesn’t remember anything” from his Flying Eye Hospital visit, although his parents assured us he was very excited to be on a plane.

Gallery: Life at school in Vietnam

Khang was distracted by his blocks – he had been building a robot. He was also drawing with colored pens and paper. He likes drawing dogs and cows in particular. His parents said that he also enjoys taking things apart and seeing how they work. Perhaps he has a career in construction ahead of him, we asked.

“Yes,” Khang said, smiling. And now with clear vision, there’s nothing standing in his way.

Khang's impressive artwork

Right now there are around 3 million children who are visually impaired and 23,000 children who are blind in Vietnam. While blindness has decreased over the last decade, there are still millions of children unable to see the world around them - needlessly.

With your support, we're increasing the skills of eye teams, especially those dealing with children, while taking a holistic approach to improve the quality of care available and help set-up referral networks - so critical to ensuring children, like Khang, can get the eye care they deserve.