The Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) and the People's Republic of China education and government officials started an extensive training programme in 1994 to address the need for primary and preventive eye care in China. It is the first international primary eye care programme of such magnitude. The five year pilot project seeks to provide vision screening and primary and preventative eye care services to more than 150 million people in China, or a ratio of 1 primary optical technician to 20,000 patients.
The project is constituted of 4 components: administration; delivery of care; evaluation; training. The overall training programme and delivery of care will address comprehensive primary eye and vision care services; children's vision needs; screening and prevention programmes; special care for disabled and multiply-handicapped patients; eyeglasses, bifocals and contact lens care; patient education and counselling; visually-related reading and learning problems.