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News, Lenses

New partnership for Essilor Foundation and IDEAS Van

01/02/2017
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The Indigenous Diabetes Eye Screening (IDEAS) Van of Queensland and Essilor Vision Foundation have announced a collaboration to enhance eye health outreach programs in remote indigenous communities.

The Essilor Vision Foundation (ESV) will support the program by providing free spectacles and lenses once prescribed, while IDEAS Van provides the professional services during the mobile activities.

IDEAS Van CEO Lyndall de Marco said that the project "is the perfect union of two like-minded organisations who want to make a difference in indigenous eye health," highlighting the same goals with Essilor Foundation through its 'Better Life through Better Sight' global program.

"While our ophthalmologists and optometrists identify and treat a range of ocular conditions and diseases it is a fact that many of our patients will simply require a basic pair of prescription spectacles to remedy poor vision - that's where the Foundation's support will be invaluable," de Marco also said.

ESV promotes itself as reaching out to the 'forgotten people' - indigenous citizens, refugees, school children and people with mental illness.

Mr Greg Johnston, ESV CEO, said that the foundation has been looking forward to the partnership, saying that, "much of the Foundations' work is in large scale screenings where considerable human resources are required."

He explained that the Queensland Government has a free spectacle scheme under the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme but not everyone is eligible.

"Our new arrangement takes away much of the paperwork and confusion. If a patient is identified as needing prescription spectacles by an optometrist or ophthalmologist on the van they simply email us the order and we process it accordingly," he said.

It is envisaged that 500 spectacles will be supplied.

"Working with the IDEAS Van means that we can still undertake our projects while adding value the Van's diagnostic and referral works through the provision of free prescription spectacles for patients and by encouraging more eye health professionals to assist the Van as it moves across regional and remote Queensland," Johnston added.

IDEAS Van has been conducting several outreach programs mostly in remote communities in Australia participated by volunteer optometry practitioners and students, dispensers, and personnel by providing comprehensive optometric examination and issue prescriptive lenses, where no such services are readily available.

On the other hand, the Foundation has been conducting the same advocacy worldwide for more than a decade and actively operating in Australia since the middle of last year.

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