New vision for Indigenous eye care

December 22, 2015

Innovative toolkit to improve eye care for Indigenous Australia.

Indigenous eye care

Health professionals looking to bridge the gap in eye care for Indigenous communities have designed a new Eye & Vision Care Toolkit.

The toolkit, from the Vision Collaborative Research Centre and the Brien Holden Vision Institute, equips medical practitioners with a set of practical and scalable resources for improved eye health.

Eye problems in Indigenous communities are far higher than non-Indigenous people: rates of blindness in general are six times higher and diabetes-related blindness are 14 times higher.

Furthermore, the National Indigenous Eye Health Survey indicates 94% of vision loss is preventable or treatable.

Remoteness, cultural differences and follow through on health issues from diagnosis to treatment are persistent barriers, says Selina Madeleine, Global Communications Manager of the Brien Holden Vision Institute.

The Indigenous eye care toolkit addresses these identified gaps in the system by allowing health workers to assess current health care practices, and includes referral flowcharts and information that can be sent electronically, as well as eye testing kits.

The toolkit is also made with consideration of Indigenous community perspectives, says Madeleine.

“I don’t think there’s anything quite like this out there, specifically targeting improved eye care outcomes within the Indigenous population,” she adds.

The kit has been used for five years across NSW and the Northern Territory and measurements over the last two years show an increase in optometry examinations from 51% to 97% and in ophthalmology services from 28% to 93%.

Follow through from use of the Indigenous eye care toolkit has also jumped, with the proportion of referred individuals with diabetic retinopathy who saw an ophthalmologist up from 25% to 54%, and those referred for cataracts and who received surgery up from just 3% to 32%.

More funding needed

The toolkit is now being disseminated to hundreds of other health care workers in these states and Madeleine says the Institute plans to role it out further.

“We would like to role this out in other states across Australia because it has been so successful in the places we’ve used it so far.”

Madeline says a lack of funding is all that is preventing the widespread adoption of the toolkit elsewhere.

Guy Fenton

Related stories

One thought on “Eye for detail”

  1. Completely normal to have an avatar as a life partner, especially for the oldies as at 120 they’ll be too drugged up and dementia’d out to notice any occasional repetitive flutters due to variability in power supply from solar stations – that allows for more basic experiences in the real world , capturing the best of the ancient spirit of the sodomites city! No more troubles and the only role for AI robotic police, the only moving parts, is to stop and eliminate those rebelling from the virtual world using their bodies as food in an internet online enabled Soylent Green Restaurant services for the elderly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *