Poverty threatens infant's sight in central Vietnam

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A blind couple from the central province of Phu Yen are seeking help to prevent their eight-month old daughter suffering their fate.

Huynh Thi My Le, 30, and her husband, Nguyen Van Du, 26, sell lottery tickets on the street in Nha Trang Town, Khanh Hoa Province, carrying their baby Nguyen Thi Cam Thu. Du was born blind while Le lost her sight to smallpox when she was four.

They used to leave the girl at home with her grandmother, but took her to the Khanh Hoa General Hospital after the grandmother said there's something "abnormal" with her eyes.

Doctors at the hospital recommended them to go to Ho Chi Minh City, Le said. "Doctors in the city said there are cataracts near her pupils and she will be blind without surgery." 

After their latest visit to Ho Chi Minh City this week, doctors have said they will perform a surgery three months later, when she's older. During this period, she will undergo further examinations to see if there are any heart defects that needed to be treated first. The doctors also said they have not arrived at any conclusions on potential links between her parents' impairment and Thu's condition.

But Le said they cannot afford the treatment, which the doctors have said will cost around a thousand dollars.

The couple earn around VND100,000 (US$4.80) a day from selling lottery tickets, just enough for cheap meals for the three of them.

At night, they sleep on the concrete floor at the house of the lottery ticket dealer.

They have returned to Nha Trang after the latest visit to Ho Chi Minh City.

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