According to the fourth annual report of the Indigenous eye health measures 2020 from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are accessing eye health services than ever before. The report provides an evidence base for monitoring changes in Indigenous eye health over time, access to and use of eye health services, and for identifying gaps in service delivery.
NACCHO Chair, Donnella Mills said, “What the AHIW report tells us is that more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are accessing eye health services and health assessments via the 715 Health Checks, the general health check-ups for our people.
“This has led to substantial improvements in the rate of Indigenous Australians accessing cataract surgery, diabetic retinopathy screening and eye health exams, growing from 11% to 30%.”
“The prevalence of trachoma, a highly infectious eye disease that can cause blindness if left untreated—has fallen significantly among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–9 years, from 15% in 2009 to 4.5% in 2019.”
“These improvements in eye health for our people is a reflection of the good work done by the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and proves the fact that culturally appropriate services deliver great results and needs to be supported.”
“NACCHO continues its work with Vision 2020 Australia in the National Spectacle Subsidy Scheme to increase access to subsidised glasses for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as working in implementing the five-year plan for eye and vision health, Strong Eyes, strong communities,” says Ms Mills.
The fourth annual report, Indigenous eye health measures 2020, was launched virtually today by the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health. The report shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 40 years and over had three times the rate of vision loss than other Australians.
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