The Foundation welcomes today's announcement by the Australian Government to deliver new or expanded eye care services to 106 rural and remote Indigenous communities.
The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said the $6.5 million boost to the Australian Government's eye health program will cover costs for optometrists to provide services to many remote Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
"This scheme is vital to improve eye health care in remote and very remote Indigenous communities because it will mean we can provide more locations, more visits, and more services," Mr Snowdon said.
"We know that the rate of blindness in Indigenous adults is more than six times higher than non-Indigenous Australians and what's more concerning is that much of this vision loss is preventable."
"This work will help pay for more optometrists to travel to communities to do comprehensive eye health checks, which lead to the identification, and treatment where possible, of eye conditions and diseases."
"This will range from identifying problems such as trachoma, which is a contagious bacterial eye infection that can cause blindness, to providing prescriptions for glasses, or referring patients to an ophthalmologist for possible surgery."
"We know that when people have healthy eyes, this not only increases their confidence, it also gives them more opportunity to participate in education and employment."
The additional funding is part of $58.3 million the Australian Government has committed to target the early detection and treatment of eye and ear health conditions amongst the Indigenous population, under the Improving Eye and Ear Health Services for Indigenous Australians for Better Education and Employment Outcomes measure.
In April, The Foundation re-committed to raising $3 million to construct a new permanent eye clinic in Alice Springs. Find out what else The Foundation is doing to improve the eye health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians.
>Find out more about our Indigenous progam.