World Sight Day this year saw the Parliamentary Friends Group for Eye Health and Vision Care come together in Canberra for the launch of both the findings of Australia’s first ever National Eye Health Survey and Vision 2020 Australia’s #snapforsight eye health awareness campaign.
Launched by the Hon Dr David Gillespie MP, Assistant Minister for Rural Health, the findings of the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS)
reflect the current status of eye health and vision care for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This information will be invaluable for the planning and prioritisation of eye care in Australia, a fact referred to by many of the speakers during the event.
Vison 2020 Australia CEO, Carla Northam, and the Centre for Eye Research Australia’s Dr Mohamed Dirani, NEHS Principal Investigator, reinforced the point that as the first comprehensive national survey of the prevalence of vision impairment and blindness in Australia, the NEHS provides a benchmark against which to measure national progress in eye health and vision care.
One of the many highlights of the event were the personal reflections of both Dr Mohamed Dirani and the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care. Mr Wyatt was the final NEHS survey participant. The story of the NEHS was told very effectively with a video presentation, utilising footage taken in the field by the Centre for Eye Research Australia survey team. Guests also heard from Mr Tony Zappia MP, Shadow Assistant Minster for Medicare (representing the Hon Catherine King MP, Shadow Minister for Health).
The event concluded with Vision 2020 Australia board member and dual Paralympian, Dr Jessica Gallagher, engaging the audience of nearly 90 parliamentarians, advisers, departmental representatives and Vision 2020 Australia members and guests in the #snapforsight
campaign, ably assisted by Dr Andrew Laming MP and the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the pictures from the event certainly demonstrate the enthusiasm with which guests embraced #snapforsight
, capturing their moments and sharing them on social media to spread the message about the importance of regular eye examinations in the early detection and treatment of many eye conditions.
Thank you to all of our speakers and guests for making this one of our most successful Parliamentary Friends Group events ever, and to our event partners, Brien Holden Vision Institute, the Fred Hollows Foundation, CBM Australia, Optometry Australia and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.