Featured International Agency: Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital P.R. CHINA

Date Posted: 02/25/2017

Compiled by Maribel Steel, VisionAware International Correspondent

Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital building

The Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital (TMUEH) is a highly specialized institution in China that is delivering remarkable eye care for people who are blind or visually impaired. VisionAware is proud to highlight TMUEH as our International Agency of the Month for their commitment to the pursuit of excellence in the field of medical education, vision research and Ophthalmologic fellowship training in their School of Optometry and Ophthalmology.

TMUEH Mission

Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital is one of the medical institutions that carry out Low Vision Rehabilitation (LVR) services in China. They also play an integral role in eye-restoring techniques of cataract patients across the country. The hospital’s overall mission in all areas of its services and research is: ”Let everyone have healthy and bright eyes.”

Teams of specialists also embrace the motto "Benevolence, Inheritance and Innovation" – so it’s not surprising that the institution continues to enjoy a reputable influence in the field of low vision services, training and research, giving it the reputation of being one of the top 20 Major Eye Centers in the world.

An Institution Built on a Vision

Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital was formerly known as the Tianjin Intraocular Lens Training Center. It was founded by two ophthalmologists, Professor Yuan Jiaqin of China, and the well-known Professor Arthur Lim of Singapore in 1989. Their vision and initiative was the result of donations by Professor Lim and other international ophthalmologists with the support of the Tianjin Municipal Government.

Child learning to use magnifier from low vision doctor

Comprehensive Services

For more than 20 years, Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital has become a comprehensive eye hospital with the medical treatment, teaching, research and training in many specialized areas:

  • Cataract service
  • Glaucoma service
  • Vitreo-Retinal and Ocular Trauma service
  • Ocular Plastic & Orbital Service
  • Refractive and Corneal Service
  • Medical Retinal & Neuro-Ophthalmology Service
  • Uveitis & Ocular Immunology Service
  • Traditional Chinese Ophthalmology Service

TMUEH also has an Optometry & Optical Department, a Diabetic Retinopathy Prevention and Control Center, an Excimer Laser Treatment Center, a Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus Center, and a Low Vision Rehabilitation Center.

Du Bei, M.D – One Profile: Many Passions

Du Bei, MD, is Head of the Low Vision Rehabilitation Center and a lecturer in the School of Optometry and Ophthalmology. In 2016, she was elected as Executive Director of Rehabilitation Physicians Branch of Tianjin Medical Association.

In this interview, she spoke passionately about the many roles she enjoys within the eye hospital. She is mainly responsible for the clinical diagnosis and treatment of low vision rehabilitation, where ophthalmologists transfer patients to the low vision clinic. In this role, she has fitted low vision devices to help thousands of people. In the college, Du Bei teaches the "Science of Low Vision" to optometry undergraduates, in addition to having hosted the "National Low Vision Training Course," which has been completed by more than 300 LVR technicians.

picture of class from National Low Vision Rehabilitation Training Course

Although there are various challenges in the treatment and process of low vision diagnosis which takes a lot of time for each patient, Du Bei comments, "I am sincerely happy to see that our clients are satisfied and confident for a better life after receiving rehabilitation services, which gives me a great sense of accomplishment, and makes my mission even firmer to keep the faith in Low Vision Rehabilitation."

Her focus is also on training and she has taught provincial and municipal low vision courses instructing thousands of people. In 2015 she was appointed an Instructor in National Assistive Technology Professional Training by China’s Disabled Persons’ Federation.

Collaborating to Provide a Free Service

For many years, the eye hospital has co-operated with the Tianjin Disabled Persons' Federation and jointly carries out the fitting of low vision devices for visually impaired people in Tianjin. Dr. Du Bei adds, "In the past 10 years, we have co-operated closely with the China Disabled Persons' Federation, and Tianjin Disabled Persons' Federation in training low vision specialists, developing and promoting a low vision visual chart, fitting low vision aids for visually impaired people and investigating low vision development projects in China." Tianjin Disabled Persons' Federation provides various types of low vision devices while RMUEH provides the low vision assessment and carries out the fitting of devices for their patients. All patients who are visually impaired enjoy the low vision rehabilitation services free of charge. "During the six months to one year after the low vision patients receive the rehabilitation services, they will be followed up, and in this way the overall efficiency of low vision rehabilitation services achieves a rate of more than 77%."

Facing Challenges

According to Dr Du Bei, there are many. She says, "Low vision rehabilitation is one of the country's public welfare undertakings. Currently, in China, the people’s cognition of Low vision rehabilitation is relatively poor, and many low vision patients do not receive professional rehabilitation services, so the scientific education and publicity on low vision rehabilitation still need to be further strengthened."

A Future Vision

On a final note, Dr. Du Bei added, "In the future, our hospital will further develop our low vision rehabilitation services along with professional and technical advantages, and carry out in-depth cooperation with China’s Disabled Persons’ Federation on low vision rehabilitation training." RMUEH sees the cultivation of relevant professional talents, research and development of low vision aids, and the promotion of international academic exchanges as the next important step forward.

Maribel: I would like to extend my personal gratitude to professionals like Dr. Du Bei for her dedication in the field of low vision as she is also a member of the editorial board working on the new version of "Science of Low Vision" as the national teaching material for optometry undergraduates. This will truly serve to connect and advance the work of many specialists worldwide who are all carrying out amazing work in all corners of the globe. On behalf of my visually impaired eyes, we say, thank you!

Related Links

Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital

International Agencies Serving People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

What Is Low Vision

Low Vision Blog Topics

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