Advocacy Platform

Advocacy Platform

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health

There is a significant 'gap' in eye health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Research suggests that around 30% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a long term eye condition and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have six times the rates of blindness as non-Indigenous Australians and three times the rates of vision loss. Much of this is preventable or treatable.

Optometry Australia is committed to supporting improved and sustainable access to primary eye care and improved eye health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. To guide and support work in this area the organisation convenes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Working Group. The priorities of the group are to:

  • provide a forum for members to collaborate in developing sustainable models of eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • provide an experts group to inform the Association in relation to the eye care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
  • provide a vehicle for advocacy for adequate funding and programs to facilitate sustainable eye care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • increase the awareness of the need for good eye care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Guidelines and Principles

The working group has developed a number of guidelines and principles documents to support the provision of sustainable eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders:

> Nationally consistent subsidised spectacle schemes for Indigenous people
   These principles and recommended standards identify key best practice principles for subsidised spectacle
   schemes, available in all jurisdictions, to facilitate improved accessibility of vision correction for Aboriginal
   and Torres Strait Islander people. Optometry Australia advocates that all jurisdictions assess the
   principles and recommended standards against their existing scheme and make improvements as
   necessary.
> The provision of Sustainable eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
> Principles for a subsidised spectacle scheme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
> Team based eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities: position statement

Membership (as of August 2016)

Current members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Working Group are:

Anna Morse              David Welch                           
Ben Hamlyn Gary Crerie (Chair)
Brian Layland Genevieve Napper
Cameron Graco Helen Summers
Daryl Guest Mitchell D Anjou
David Bradley Stephanie Bahler
Shannon Peckham