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Mobile eye health clinics closing the gap

20/09/2017By Matthew Woodley
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A new study has revealed the Lions Outback Vision Van (LOVV) is boosting patient attendance and closing the Indigenous eye health gap in Western Australia.

According to the study, which compared data from two LOVV road trips to Derby during

2016 with two 2015 outreach ophthalmology clinics, the state-of-the-art 20-metre mobile clinic increased patient attendance rates and significantly reduced the need for patients in regional areas to travel to Perth for treatment.



“The Vision Van allows remote patients to access the gold standard of care. This means more patients can receive higher quality diagnostic testing and therefore potential treatment without the need for regular travel,”
Angus Turner, LOV director

Lions Outback Vision director Dr Angus Turner, who co-wrote the study, said previous outreach clinics had limited equipment which meant more patients had to travel to major regional centres or Perth for treatment. However, the introduction of the LOVV had resulted in greater patient satisfaction and attendance rates had increased from 50% in 2015 to almost 68% in 2016.

“It is very pleasing to see Lions Outback Vision and the Vision Van breaking down barriers to eye health care for Indigenous patients. Eye surgery is scary so providing the patient with a positive experience reduces anxiety and improves the attendance rate,” Turner said.

“The Vision Van allows remote patients to access the gold standard of care. This means more patients can receive higher quality diagnostic testing and therefore potential treatment without the need for regular travel, which is not only disruptive but also costly.”

LOV has also had an impact in Perth, where it runs urban clinics at Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service and Bentley Health Service once a month offering surgery, laser, injections and follow-up treatment to predominantly Aboriginal patients. A strategy to build a relationship with patients prior to surgery has paid off, with eye surgery attendance rates increasing to 100%, a number which previously hovered at around 50%.

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