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Government eye health program extended

11/10/2017By Matthew Woodley • Staff Journalist
Thousands of residents from areas that have high proportions of people who have never had an eye exam are set to benefit from an extended government-funded eye health program.
Carla Northam, Vision 2020 CEO
“With our aging population and our increasing rates of diabetes, it’s time we worked together to make eye health a priority.”
Carla Northam, Vision 2020 Australia CEO

People from the Victorian regions of Bass Coast, Central Goldfields, Glenelg, Hepburn, Moira and Whittlesea will join eight other areas that have already been taking part in the Vision Initiative program since 2012.

The program, managed by Vision 2020 Australia, aims to prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss through working with health providers in local areas to create better identification and referral of people at risk of eye disease and those affected by sight loss.

Speaking at a program launch event in South Morang, Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Health Ms Gabrielle Williams said she was delighted the Vision Initiative was extending to new areas, as it would encourage more locals to get their eyes tested and save their sight.

“The Vision initiative aims to integrate eye-health awareness into mainstream health promotion programs. While the production and distribution of information kits and education materials forms part of the work program, I also understand that community talks will also take place – which is hugely important part of information dissemination,” she said.

“We know that this work in prevention and early detection is done best when a state-wide effort is complemented by work in local government areas, in partnership with general practitioners, pharmacists, optometrists and, of course, communities themselves. These partnerships are critical to achieving the best possible outcomes.”

Meanwhile, Vision 2020 Australia CEO Ms Carla Northam said it was critical to work together to identify people at risk of eye disease and link them with local eye health services.

“With our aging population and our increasing rates of diabetes, it’s time we worked together to make eye health a priority,” she said.

“At a local level we work with primary health networks, primary care partnerships and local councils to deliver initiatives to primary health providers and people at risk of eye disease in each community.”

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