Vision 2020 Australia, the peak body for the eye sector, is marking NAIDOC week by calling for action to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the same access to eye care as other Australians.
Strong eyes, strong communities – A five year plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health and vision, 2019-2024 sets out a plan to achieve this goal.
Most vision loss can be avoided or prevented through early identification and treatment, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience three times the rate of blindness and vision loss than non-Indigenous Australians and often wait much longer for treatment.
The Vision 2020 Australia Board has also reconfirmed its commitment to enhancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and oversight in eye health and vision – agreeing to a number of actions which will make sure the voices of community members are central to the decisions made about them.
Quotes attributable to Vision 2020 Australia CEO Judith Abbott:
“Too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still experience vision loss that could be avoided through better access to eye testing, affordable glasses and timely treatment.”
“Everyone should have the right to sight.”
“This NAIDOC week we recommit to ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia have the same or better eye health and visual outcomes than those of non-Indigenous Australians.”
“Following the recent re-election of the Federal Government, we call on the newly promoted Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ken Wyatt, along with Minister for Health Greg Hunt, to continue to lead and support our collective efforts to end avoidable blindness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
“Additional funding of just $85.5 million over 5 years will change the lives of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their families and their communities.”
“Our Board, our members and our staff are fully committed to a genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations, which will be reflected in our approach to implementing Strong Eyes, Strong Communities.”
Media contact: Amy Johnston 03 9656 2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Key stats on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s eye health
- Cataract is the leading cause of blindness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and is 12 times more common than for non-Indigenous Australians.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wait on average 63% longer for cataract surgery than non-Indigenous Australians.
- Almost two-thirds of vision impairment among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is due to uncorrected refractive error – often treatable with a pair of glasses.
- One in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults is at risk of Diabetic Retinopathy, which can lead to irreversible vision loss.
- Australia is the only developed country to still have Trachoma, found predominately in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.