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Warilla residents help shine a spotlight on eye health

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The National Eye Health Survey (NEHS) will allow Warilla residents to become some of the first people in NSW to have their eyes tested as part of ground-breaking Australian r esearch into eye health.

The NEHS will be the first research of its kind to map major eye conditions in Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across Australia through comprehensive eye testing. 

Member for Throsby and Shadow Assistant Minister for Health Mr Stephen Jones MP, attended the launch this afternoon, meeting with residents taking part in the testing.

“It is great to see the local community getting behind the National Eye Health Survey to give us a clearer picture of eye health impacting residents. I look forward to reviewing the Australia-wide results when the study finishes mid next year,” Mr Jones said. 

Undertaken by Vision 2020 Australia and the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), the comprehensive research project is collaborative between government and non-government organisations and the private sector. The NEHS is set to achieve improved eye health and vision care outcomes across the nation.

The NEHS began recruitment and testing of New South Wales participants in July 2015, activity is anticipated to run in Warilla from 18 August to 27 August 2015.  It is expected that participants will be tested across some ten sites in the state. Australia-wide the NEHS will conduct testing at more than 30 sites, including regional and remote areas of the country. 

Vision 2020 Australia CEO, Jennifer Gersbeck, said the results from the testing site in Warilla would form an important part of the research and help to deliver a clearer picture of the state of Australian eye health.

“As Australia’s population ages, we expect to see an increase in the number of people with conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and refractive error. Being armed with accurate data will help us to manage these conditions efficiently and effectively,” Ms Gersbeck said.

Principal Investigator, Dr Mohamed Dirani said: “At present, interventions and future programs are being planned and implemented based on 20 year old data. The National Eye Health Survey will give us an up-to-date, evidenced-based picture of the prevalence and causes of vision impairment in Australia.”

“The results of the research will also provide invaluable follow up data for the National Indigenous Eye Health Survey conducted in 2008, where the effects of interventions since then can be assessed and specific eye health strategies for the Indigenous community can be better guided,” he said.

The National Eye Health Survey is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Chronic Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Fund, with other contributions coming from CERA, OPSM, Novartis, Zeiss, Brien Holden Vision Institute, Optometry Australia, NACCHO and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

ENDS

Media Contact

Louise Rudzki, Communications Manager, 03 9656 2020, 0414 784 359, lrudzki@vision2020australia.org.au
Prue Gildea, Communications Consultant, 0400 394 274, pgildea@vision2020australia.org.au NEHS logo lock up

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