Basic eye care: the right of every Australian

Tracey from Broome is a wonderful example of what happens when Indigenous Australians have the access to eye care that all Australians deserve.  

When Fred was alive, he was outraged by the level of eye care for Indigenous Australians in remote and rural Australia. The Foundation he started and our supporters are part of his dream to address this inequality. 

Tracey and her family are Fred’s dream coming true. She's a 73 year-old woman from Western Australia who grew up in Beagle Bay and Broome in Western Australia. Tracey had bi-lateral cataracts, but was able to access treatment for her condition thanks to a vision van that travels around remote communities in WA. 

We were lucky enough to gain some insight in to Tracey's life and her journey towards restored sight. 

 

PHOTO GALLERY: Tracey from Broome 

Tracey, Indigenous Australian from Broome and her mother

Tracey's mother (92) was part of the stolen generation. When she found her family, she helped her children re-connect with the country. 
 

The Aboriginal Medical Service in Broome

Indigenous Australia eye health - Broome Aboriginal Medical Service

Tracey's father was instrumental in setting up the first Aboriginal Medical Service in Broome. He received help from the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) in Sydney, an organisation Fred Hollows was closely associated with for many years. 

When Fred was alive, he made a trip to Broome. While there, he examined a young Tracey's eyes - as well as the eyes of her 11 siblings. 
 

Dr Angus and the staff at Lions Outback Vision 

Lions Outback Vision Van

This is Dr Angus and some of the amazing team at Outback Vision, the arm of our partners Lions Eye Institute specialising in eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and under-serviced communities across Western Australia.
 

Dr Angus treating Tracey

Indigenous Eye health. Operation. Dr Angus. Lions Vision

Dr Angus shows so much compassion for his patients. He's dedicated to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through eye health. His ease and skill as a surgeon puts patients at ease. Throughout Tracey's treatment, he built an easy rapport with her. 
 

Eye health advice from a Foundation supported fellow

Indigenous Eye Health. Tracey Post Cataract Surgery

Tracey receives eye health advice from Xia, a Foundation-supported fellow. Xia shadows Dr Angus during surgery and conduct pre and post-op assessments of patients. Her role as a fellow has expanded and she works on a number of eye health interventions. Her role enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access essential eye health services in their own communities. This is important, because it means that people who need help don't have to travel long distances for basic screening and treatment.
 

Seeing her grandchildren grow up

Indigenous Health. Tracey and Ipad

Tracey has over 20 grandchildren and is a great-great grandmother. Before her operation, Tracey spoke at length about being able to go back to Beagle Bay. She wanted to see the ocean again and see her beloved grandchildren grow up. 
 

Basic eye care is the right of all Australians

Indigenous eye health australia, Tracey hospital broome

All Tracey needed for her cataract surgery was the ability to access eye care. Living in remote Australia means that accessing basic eye care services is not easy, and health care in city centres and populated areas is easily taken for granted. But we need to recognise how important it is to fund and create facilities that allow people like Tracey to be assessed, transported and treated appropriately so they can continue to lead full lives. The eye health of remote and rural communities depends on it. 

Read more about the legacy of Fred Hollow's work in Indigenous Australia. 

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