More than 500 sight-saving operations have now been performed through a program in Central Australia coordinated by The Fred Hollows Foundation.
Thirty-eight people received eye surgery in Alice Springs during the week-long intensive surgery session which ended over the weekend. A total of 41 procedures on patients took the full number of operations performed under the program to 512.
The Foundation’s Angus Thornton says the program has been a great success when you consider the challenges involved in bringing integrated health services to one of the largest geographic catchment areas in the world.
"The aim of the program initially was to clear a backlog of around 300 patients who desperately needed eye surgery from these remote communities," Thornton says.
"The more positive word got around communities that their ‘eyes can be fixed', the more people came forward.
"So we couldn't be happier that 500 people out there have been given a better chance at life as a result of everyone working together on this program."
Aboriginal people are six times more likely than non-Aboriginal Australians to become blinded by eye disease. The eye intensive was the tenth conducted through the Central Australian Eye Health Program since 2007.
Program partners include The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Federal Government, the Northern Territory Government, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation and The Eye Foundation.
"Fred travelled all around Australia to give people in remote communities the eye services they needed, so I think he'd be very proud of this achievement," Thornton says.
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