Organisations working to end avoidable blindness have welcomed the Australian Government's budget commitment of $39 million to continue to tackle avoidable blindness.

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, said the new initiative would focus on preventing avoidable blindness and restoring sight to thousands of people in the Asia Pacific region over the next four years.

Vision 2020 Australia CEO Jennifer Gersbeck said she was pleased that the Australian Government had allocated funding to address this important issue.

Ms Gersbeck said the commitment, together with the work already underway in the region by Australian NGOs and AusAID, would help restore sight and transform the lives of some of Australia’s most vulnerable neighbours.

“We know cost-effective eye health treatments can be the difference between a life of poverty and a fulfilling, healthy existence,” Ms Gersbeck said.

“It is good to know that the impact that preventing blindness has on reducing poverty has been recognised by the Australian Government.”

> Read the Media Release from Vision2020 Australia
Established in October 2000, Vision 2020 Australia is part of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a global initiative of the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Vision 2020 Australia represents over 60 member organisations involved in: local and global eye care; health promotion; low vision support; vision rehabilitation; eye research; professional assistance and community support.