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Ophthalmic van hits 100 visits

A mobile eye-care clinic has made more than 100 separate visits to remote sites in Queensland to treat eye diseases among indigenous people.

According to The Australian, the non-profit Indigenous Diabetes Eyes and Screening (IDEAS) van has travelled 160,000 km since it first commenced operations in March 2014.

The van is a fully-equipped mobile ophthalmic and optometry treatment centre that travels to regional hubs around Queensland to provide eye-care services to remote communities.

Patients are screened at their local medical centres with equipment provided by the service, with the images analysed in Sydney.

IDEAS van chief executive officer Ms Lyndall De Marco told The Australian that 18,000 of those images had been graded, resulting in 2,000 patients referred to the van for bulk-billed treatment. Of those, 54 patients had reportedly undergone cataract surgery.

In addition to enlisting the volunteer services of ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists, the IDEAS van has a partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The van is part of the IDEAS Initiative, which aims to reduce preventable blindness from diabetes by providing education, equipment and specialist clinical treatment and support to Aboriginal Medical Services in Queensland and their indigenous and non-indigenous patients.

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