Eye care for Indigenous Australians

Eye care for Indigenous Australians

Vision for every Australian...everywhere

In Australia, the focus of the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation is on supporting better equality in eye care for all Australians. Despite being a developed country with an established eye care system, there are significant inequalities in eye health for some Australians. The Foundation has been working in these areas to redress this inequality, by providing services directly, developing and delivering training for primary health care practitioners in eye care assessments and referrals, and collaborating with others who are also working in these areas.

Optometry Giving Sight knows we achieve more through collaboration. This inclusive ethos has influenced our recent integration into the Foundation and merging our operations into their public health foundation infrastructure.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians are three times more likely to have poor vision compared with other Australians. Diabetes related blindness in Aboriginal Australians is 14 times higher than in non-Indigenous populations and 94% of vision loss in Aboriginal communities is preventable or treatable.

Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute showed great support. “We have always regarded Optometry Giving Sight as a part of the Brien Holden Vision Institute family. By merging our operations, we become more effective and gain the opportunity to maximize the resources that we can dedicate to key program areas.”

The Aboriginal Vision Program began in New South Wales (NSW) in 1999 and then expanded to the Northern Territory (NT) in 2007, upon the direct request to the Foundation from Aboriginal eye health coordinators and their Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services for a regular and reliable optometry service for their patients. Working in partnership with these health services, we provide a visiting optometry service that forms part of their broader primary health care program, enabling a culturally safe optometry service for their patients.

Ron Baroni, Australian Country Manager, Optometry Giving Sight, spoke with equal enthusiasm. “We are all excited by the increased opportunity to come together and collaboratively work on our common mission – giving sight to all Australians. We encourage our Australian donors to support this new opportunity with renewed enthusiasm. Together we can continue to achieve more.”

The visiting services, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the Visiting Optometrist Scheme (VOS), are currently provided by the Foundation to 200 regional, rural and remote locations across NSW and NT. Training, upskilling and mentoring primary health care workers is also provided to enable the best opportunities for eye health checks and referral pathways to be regularly supported by the community at the local point of care.

Focusing on Indigenous eye care and the inequity often experienced, motivated action over the recent five year period, 2010-2015, and instigated collaborative work through a research program funded by the Vision Cooperative Research Centre (Vision CRC). The Foundation was the lead collaborator for the Vision CRC research project, Models of Vision Care Delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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In Australia, the focus of the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation is on supporting better equality in eye care for all Australians. Despite being a developed country with an established eye care system, there are significant inequalities in eye health for some Australians. The Foundation has been working in these areas to redress this inequality, by providing services directly, developing and delivering training for primary health care practitioners in eye care assessments and referrals, and collaborating with others who are also working in these areas.

Optometry Giving Sight knows we achieve more through collaboration. This inclusive ethos has influenced our recent integration into the Foundation and merging our operations into their public health foundation infrastructure.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians are three times more likely to have poor vision compared with other Australians. Diabetes related blindness in Aboriginal Australians is 14 times higher than in non-Indigenous populations and 94% of vision loss in Aboriginal communities is preventable or treatable.

Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute showed great support. “We have always regarded Optometry Giving Sight as a part of the Brien Holden Vision Institute family. By merging our operations, we become more effective and gain the opportunity to maximize the resources that we can dedicate to key program areas.”

The Aboriginal Vision Program began in New South Wales (NSW) in 1999 and then expanded to the Northern Territory (NT) in 2007, upon the direct request to the Foundation from Aboriginal eye health coordinators and their Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services for a regular and reliable optometry service for their patients. Working in partnership with these health services, we provide a visiting optometry service that forms part of their broader primary health care program, enabling a culturally safe optometry service for their patients.

Ron Baroni, Australian Country Manager, Optometry Giving Sight, spoke with equal enthusiasm. “We are all excited by the increased opportunity to come together and collaboratively work on our common mission – giving sight to all Australians. We encourage our Australian donors to support this new opportunity with renewed enthusiasm. Together we can continue to achieve more.”

The visiting services, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the Visiting Optometrist Scheme (VOS), are currently provided by the Foundation to 200 regional, rural and remote locations across NSW and NT. Training, upskilling and mentoring primary health care workers is also provided to enable the best opportunities for eye health checks and referral pathways to be regularly supported by the community at the local point of care.

Focusing on Indigenous eye care and the inequity often experienced, motivated action over the recent five year period, 2010-2015, and instigated collaborative work through a research program funded by the Vision Cooperative Research Centre (Vision CRC). The Foundation was the lead collaborator for the Vision CRC research project, Models of Vision Care Delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.