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National Eye Health Survey testing concludes in Western Australia

Man and a woman standing behind a seated man in a shirt and tie with eye testing equipment on his face, being held in place by a female orthoptist.

CERA’s Dr Mo Dirani and Vision 2020 Australia’s Jennifer Gersbeck watch as Ken Wyatt MP receives an eye test. Photo courtesy of Vision 2020 Australia.

Eye health professionals conducted a final eye test in Kalamunda on Saturday, marking the end of a year-long pioneering national research study mapping the eye health of Australians.

The West Australian suburb is one of nine testing sites in the state where eye health professionals have been collecting information for the National Eye Health Survey over the past two months.

The survey which is being undertaken by Vison 2020 Australia and the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) began rolling out across the country in March last year and is the first survey of its kind to map the prevalence of vision impairment and blindness in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Vision 2020 Australia CEO, Jennifer Gersbeck, said the results from the testing in West Australia would form an important part of the research and help to deliver a clearer picture of the state of Australian eye health.

“As Australia’s population ages, we expect to see an increase in the number of people with conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and refractive error. Being armed with accurate data will help us to manage these conditions efficiently and effectively,” said Ms Gersbeck.

To mark the completion of the survey, eye health professionals and researchers were joined on Saturday in Kalamunda by the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care and Member for Hasluck, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM.

Principal Investigator, Dr Mohamed Dirani said: “At present, interventions and future programs are being planned and implemented based on 20 year old data. The National Eye Health Survey will give us an up-to-date, evidenced-based picture of the prevalence and causes of vision impairment in Australia.”

“The results of the research will also provide invaluable follow up data for the National Indigenous Eye Health Survey conducted in 2008, where the effects of interventions since then can be assessed and specific eye health strategies for the Indigenous community can be better guided.”

The National Eye Health Survey is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Chronic Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Fund, with other contributions coming from CERA, OPSM, Novartis, Zeiss, Brien Holden Vision Institute, Optometry Australia, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.


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