Eye Care Blog

Australia needs to 'improve access to vision correction'

Added 18/3/2010

The Australian government needs to improve access to vision correction and alternative eye surgery options, it has been claimed.

According to the University of Melbourne's chair of indigenous eye health Professor Hugh Taylor, while there has been a dramatic improvement in eyecare in the country, provision for indigenous Australians is still lacking.

A recent study, which looked at 30 Aboriginal communities across Australia, found that most eyesight loss and deterioration in the Aboriginal population could be prevented with standard vision correction techniques.

Un-operated cataracts, diabetes, uncorrected refractive errors such as myopia and trachoma - all of which are treatable - were found to be common causes of blindness in the demographic.

"Vision loss in indigenous adults is predominantly from preventable or treatable causes," said Professor Taylor.

"Adequate provision of accessible eye care services is required to redress this inequality and close the gap for vision loss in Australia," he added.

The vision correction study looked at 3,000 indigenous individuals and found that 9.4 per cent had poor vision. A further 1.9 per cent were completely blind.

However, the research also found that childhood short-sightedness was far less common in Aboriginal children than the young population of Australia as a whole.

"The good vision of indigenous children can be accounted for by the relative infrequency of myopia (short sightedness)," Professor Taylor concluded.

Recent research published in the Archives of Ophthalmology has shown that the prevalence of myopia in the western world is 66 per cent higher than it was 30 years ago - highlighting the importance of an effective cure for childhood myopia.

One solution to the growing number of people suffering from short-sightedness is the use of overnight corrective lenses such as i-GO's Ortho K lenses.

Worn at night, the devices gently reshape the eye, correcting vision problems and allowing wearers to do away with glasses and disposable contact lenses during the day.

Eye Health: Find out if i-GO over night contact lenses will suit you.

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Japanese donation to spruce up Mumbai eye hospital

Added 17/3/2010

What can a handful of Japanese do for an ophthalmic and ENT hospital? Well, a lot. So feels the KB Haji Bachooali Charitable Ophthalmic and ENT Hospital in Parel.

For, these few Japanese through their consulate have donated Rs25 lakh for the ophthalmic society at the hospital. The money will be used to purchase new equipment for screening, investigating and treating glaucoma patients.

Glaucoma is a disease in which the optic nerve is damaged, leading to progressive, irreversible loss of vision.

The objective of the ophthalmic society is to provide eye care free or with nominal fee to the poor and needy. The society was started by a group of professionals late DD Sathye, late DS Sardesai, and late CR Athavale. The hospital was set up 95 years ago.

“Our outreach department is involved in various projects across the state. On learning about us, the Japanese visited the sites where we offer services, and decided to fund our glaucoma project,” said Deepak Lalge, programme manager of the department.

“Such donations boost our morale to work more on curable blindness and reach more needy patients,” said G Chandrasekhar, medical director of the hospital.

The hospital also conducts free cataract detection camps, free-of-cost cataract operations and school screening programmes.

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Glaucoma affecting 150,000 Australians

Added 15/3/2010

More than 150,000 Australians have been diagnosed with the vision-destroying condition glaucoma but just as many may have it but don't know.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness worldwide and thousands of Australians are living with the disease, federal Ageing Minister Justine Elliot said as she launched an awareness week on Thursday.

"It is known as the sneak thief of sight," she said at Parliament House, adding the condition was gradual and often went undetected.

Glaucoma did not discriminate on the basis of age but the likelihood of contracting it increased with age with one in 10 Australians over the age of 80 developing glaucoma.

"There are more than 150,000 people with diagnosed glaucoma in Australia and estimates suggest a further 150,000 unaware that they are living with the condition," Ms Elliot said.

The good news was that early detection, through regular eye checks, could significantly reduce the impact of this condition.

"Early intervention and better treatments mean that we are able to slow the progression of the disease and prevent further vision loss," she said, adding World Glaucoma Week was a reminder for people to have regular eye checks.

It was advice taken up by Northern Territory MP Damian Hale who had his eyes tested during the launch.

Tags : Glaucoma
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