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New partnership to promote awareness of glaucoma

MEDIA RELEASE

With the total cost of glaucoma on the Australian economy rising by $120 million per year, two of Australia’s foremost professional associations have established a new partnership to increase awareness of this debilitating eye disease.

Optometry Australia, the peak professional body for optometrists, and Glaucoma Australia, the peak support group for people and families affected by glaucoma, are committed to reducing the visual impact of glaucoma through community information and education.

“Glaucoma is often called the silent thief of sight and it is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Many people who develop glaucoma won’t realise that they have it until too late and we want to reverse this trend,” Glaucoma Australia President Ron Spithill OAM, said.

Optometry Australia’s CEO Genevieve Quilty said: “It is critical that every Australian has regular eye examinations throughout life so that diseases such as glaucoma can be detected early and suitable treatment programs put in place. Optometrists play a key role in this”.

Ms Quilty said that she was delighted that Optometry Australia and Glaucoma Australia have committed to collaborating and putting joint programs in place to try to prevent this insidious eye disease further infiltrating the lives of Australians.

The two bodies have signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding designed to promote their critical roles in glaucoma detection and management within the community. The MOU is further designed to strengthen the relationship between the two organisations.

Tony Gibson OAM, from Eyecare Plus (Mitcham Victoria) said that the “MOU represents an important step for optometrists in recognising the profession’s crucial role in working with Glaucoma Australia for the betterment of glaucoma patients”.

Both organisations have agreed to collaborate on the implementation of patient education systems, to advocate for economically sustainable support for the early detection of the condition and for the collaborative care of people with glaucoma.

An estimated 300,000 Australians have glaucoma, but only half have been diagnosed. For the other 150,000 they are living with the risk of progressive vision loss leading to possible blindness.

With the total cost economic cost of glaucoma expected to rise to $43 billion by 2025 with the aging of the Australian population, glaucoma doesn’t discriminate.

ENDS 

Media Contact

Kerry I’Anson, Optometry Australia, media@optometry.org.au

Geoff Pollard, Glaucoma Australia, 0409 652 451, glaucoma@glaucoma.org.au

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