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Eyes on the ball for outback vision

MEDIA RELEASE

  • $3.9 million in State Government funding for mobile eye health clinic
  • Funding includes $1.9 million from Lotterywest and $2 million from WA Health

The State Government has contributed about $4 million to take an eye health clinic on the road to parts of remote and regional Western Australia.

Health Minister Kim Hames said Lotterywest funding would go towards research and evaluation as well as the vehicle cost and fit-out of a modified van that could take eye health on the road in the form of a mobile vision clinic.

"In addition to $1.9 million from Lotterywest, WA Health has committed $2 million over five years to the Lions Eye Institute to fund equipment, fit-out and running costs of the Lions Outback Vision Van," Dr Hames said.

"The whole concept is terrific because it means we can reach out to people living in regional and remote WA and help in the elimination of preventable blindness and vision loss.

"Eye specialist coverage is up to 19 times lower in remote WA than in urban areas and rural residents are three times less likely to have seen an ophthalmologist. This service will help in reducing this inequity for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people."

The mobile clinic will provide comprehensive optometry and ophthalmology care for conditions including cataracts, refractive error, trachoma, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

When complete the van will travel more than 24,000 kilometres per year, with the capacity to treat 200 patients a week. It will operate for a minimum of 10 months a year and service 16 regional centres from Kununurra to Albany.

The Minister said the service was expected to complement existing service provision and reduce pressure on clinic spaces.

"The Government, through WA Health and Lotterywest, is pleased to be partnering with the Lions Eye Institute to save sight," he said.

Dr Hames said the funding would also help the institute with further eye health research and evaluation as part of the program.

Fact File

  • $2 million funding from Health will be provided as five annual instalments of $400,000
  • Vision van will visit Katanning, Albany, Esperance, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Leonora, Wiluna, Newman, Roebourne, Karratha, Port Hedland, Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra and Carnarvon

ENDS 

Media Contact

Health Minister Kim Hames' office, (08) 6552 5300

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