NACCHO urges call to action this World Sight Day: get your eyes tested!
Today is World Sight Day, a global day with the specific aim of increasing awareness of avoidable blindness and vision loss – the causes, prevention and rehabilitation.
The theme for World Sight Day 2012 is prevention.
In Australia 75% of vision loss is preventable or treatable but for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this figure rises to 94%.
Despite this staggering percentage, 35% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have never had an eye test.
Alarmingly blindness rates are 6.2 times higher and vision impairment 2.8 times higher for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population in comparison to the wider Australian community.
NACCHO is urging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to get their eyes tested to Close the Gap for vision.
Ms Lisa Briggs, incoming CEO of NACCHO and Chair of the Vision 2020 Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee comments “While all Australians need to be proactive in managing their eye health, the statistics indicate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need to be particularly vigilant.”
“Regular eye tests have a significant role in preventing avoidable blindness and vision loss and can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life.”
It is a simple take out message.
An eye health DVD, Our Eyes Our Journey, funded by The Fred Hollows Foundation and developed by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in collaboration with NACCHO, Oxfam and Vision 2020 Australia promotes key eye health messages and can be viewed on the NACCHO website
Ms Briggs is encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to go to the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet for further information about eye health issues and resources.
The website can be viewed at http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/
Jennifer Gersbeck, CEO of Vision 2020 Australia said NACCHO is a critical voice in the prevention of avoidable blindness and vision loss.
“As the peak body for Aboriginal health, NACCHO is well placed to promote key preventive messages.”
For interviews with Lisa Briggs please contract: Colin Cowell 0401 331 251