Indigenous, Local, News

Australia-first eye clinic for Indigenous patients

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital (RVEEH) has joined forces with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) to launch Australia’s first specialist eye clinic within a community-controlled organisation.

The full-service clinic has opened in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy and will aim to provide culturally safe eyecare to both paediatric and adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

The clinic will operate fortnightly and be staffed by ophthalmologists and orthoptists, supported by Aboriginal Health Workers.

With funding from the Victorian State Government, the specialists will have access to state-of the-art equipment to provide gold standard ophthalmology care, including injection and laser treatments for serious and ongoing eye conditions.

The clinic builds on the success of the Healthy Ears clinic, another partnership between the RVEEH and VAHS to provide ear care services for children.

VAHS, which was established in 1973, has expanded steadily during the past 40 years to provide a comprehensive range of medical, dental and social services. It is also affiliated with the Australian College of Optometry.

“This is another meaningful partnership arrangement between a tertiary provider and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service which is key to increasing access to specialised services which support closing the health gap and addressing local access to the specific medical needs of the Victorian Aboriginal community,” VAHS CEO Mr Michael Graham said.

The clinic’s consultant ophthalmologist Dr Rosie Dawkins said she was delighted with the capabilities of the clinic.

“This clinic is the first full-service ophthalmology clinic within an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation,” she said.

“The equipment is state of the art. But more importantly, the partnership between VAHS and The Eye and Ear, and the friendships we have developed during the process, will be an asset in delivering care to the community.”