Memories of Foresight in China

Foresight has a rich and long history of making a difference to the sight of millions of people in developing countries. One country we have worked extensively in is China.

Our founder Professor Frank Billson AO travelled to China regularly in the 1980s. He was an honorary professor at Tianjin Medical University in northern China and visited other parts of China including Beijing and Chongqing.

In the above photograph, taken in 1987, Prof Billson is pictured with a group of local ophthalmologists and trainees. At the time, Prof Billson was a visiting professor, teaching microsurgery as part of a program to upskill local doctors. The Chinese doctors are now all senior doctors or professors.

During Prof Billson’s work in Tianjin, he helped found an intraocular lens factory, producing affordable intraocular lenses until this day. These lenses are used to treat cataracts and significantly cut the cost of restoring sight. The importance of setting up a local factory helped greatly in reducing the costs and increased accessibility for Chinese people needing the lenses.

The factory was one of the first examples of Foresight’s philosophy of empowering local communities, which is a continuing reminder of Prof Billson and Foresight’s impact.