The town of “damaged eyes” because of onion
VietNamNet Bridge - Vinh Chau town in the southern province of Soc Trang has up to 828 people who are blind, including 267 people who are blind in both eyes and 561 in one eye.

Peeling onion, the job that is prone to blindness.

Vinh Chau Town is the largest onion growing area in the Mekong Delta. However, for many years the local residents have had to face the risk of blindness, because of their job.

According to incomplete statistics of the Red Cross Association of Vinh Chau town, the town has 828 blind people, including 267 people who are blind in both eyes and 561 in one eye.

The victims are mostly rural Khmer farmers, who are specialized in planting onion and a number of young people, rural women who peeling onion during the onion harvest season.

Mr. Huynh Van Hong, head of the Health Division of Vinh Chau town, said that most of the blind people in the town are the victims of onion-related causes. When they peel onions, the tear dust from onions storms into their eyes. Many people often rub their hands into the eyes, causing ulcers.

According to Mr. Hong, the number of onion growers who become blind tends to rise, but the local health division does not have accurate statistics. The Red Cross Association and the local agency have called for 300 people to have yearly eye check-ups.

Local farmers said previously they used DDT (a toxic chemical) to preserve onions, but the local government has banned DDT so they have switched to use pesticide Mipcin.

Using chemicals in planting and preserving onion, plus the tear dust from onions are the major reasons for corneal ulcers and blindness.

Farmers usually mix 40kg of clay with 2-4 kg of Mipcin to make the compost for onion storage. Without this compost, within a week, onions will be harmed by ants and worms.

Local people said that this preservative is not good, but they do not know about other methods of storage.

Dat Viet
Vietnam, onion, Soc Trang, blindness