“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have three times the rate of vision impairment and blindness as compared to non-Indigenous Australians.”
“This is totally unacceptable, especially when almost two-thirds of impaired eyesight can be corrected by prescription glasses.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the investment would allow Vision 2020 Australia to work with state and territory governments to streamline, standardise and improve their schemes that provide subsidised glasses to First Nations people
Photo above NACCHO File : Brien Holden Vision Institute with Edwina at Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin
“To help achieve equity of access to subsidised glasses, Vision 2020 will work with governments to ensure their schemes align with eye health principles developed by Optometry Australia and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.
“These principles have been supported by Aboriginal Health Forums conducted across the nation.”
Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM
“Under some State and Territory schemes at the moment, only a third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people needing glasses are actually receiving them.
We need to do what we can to provide cost-certainty and affordable access to prescription spectacles for our people.”
Dr Dawn Casey, Acting Deputy CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and Chair of the Vision 2020 Australia policy committee for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health also welcomed the investment
Part 1 Program Puts Better Vision for First Nations People in Sight
The Turnbull Government has committed $2 million to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with easier access to affordable prescription glasses.
Welcomes @GregHuntMP and @KenWyattMP major investment to provide approx. 18,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with easier access to affordable prescription glasses.
Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM said introducing a nationally consistent system to simplify and ensure better access to affordable glasses would significantly improve people’s vision and overall quality of life.
“Not only does poor vision adversely affect a person’s general wellbeing, it can be a significant barrier to education and employment, and can restrict a person’s mobility and social interaction,” said Minister Wyatt.
“The cost of prescription glasses often deters Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from visiting an optometrist to have their sight checked.”
“This can also delay detection of other serious vision-threatening conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.”
A trial to improve the provision of prescription glasses in the Kimberley and Pilbara areas of Western Australia yielded positive outcomes, including improved patient medication compliance and greater independence.
Vision 2020 Australia was established in 2000 and has an experienced board including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives.
The Turnbull Government’s 2018-19 Budget included an additional $3 million to extend First Nations eye health activities, on top of an existing $31.3 million commitment to eye health activities
Part 2 New investment in spectacles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people welcomed by Vision 2020 Australia
Vision 2020 Australia welcomes the Australian Government investment of $2 million to increase access to subsidised spectacles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The one-off funds have been allocated to Vision 2020 Australia to work with the Australian Government to encourage State and Territory Governments to enhance the existing arrangements for subsidising the cost of spectacles.
Vision 2020 Australia CEO Judith Abbott said: “Our members have been actively advocating for this investment that will help make spectacles more affordable for up to 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across our country.”
“Around 60 per cent of blindness among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is due to issues that can be corrected with glasses, so this is a very positive step. We look forward to working with the government as part of Vision 2020 Australia’s ongoing commitment with our members to reduce blindness and vision loss.”
Minister for Indigenous Health the Hon. Ken Wyatt said: “While subsidised spectacle schemes exist in all Australian states and territories, the existing schemes vary and in some cases, have limited impact in overcoming barriers to access.
This new investment is being provided to encourage State and Territory Governments to work with Vision 2020 Australia to establish a nationally consistent approach to spectacle subsidies.”
“We want to remove affordability barriers so Aboriginal people can get glasses when they need them, regardless of where they live