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This project is part of ongoing work undertaken by the Fred Hollows Foundation in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in remote Australia.
Indigenous children have better vision than the mainstream population, however Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are six times more like than other Australians to go blind.
94% of vision loss among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults is preventable or treatable. The four eye conditions that cause this vision loss are: refractive error (needing glasses), cataract, diabetic retinopathy and trachoma. The statistics show how easily achievable it is to prevent avoidable blindness – most vision loss can be corrected overnight or with a pair of glasses. However, 35% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have never had an eye exam.
A major issue in remote Aboriginal communities is trachoma, an infection of the eye that can lead to irreversible blindness. Australia is the only developed country to still have trachoma. The Fred Hollows Foundation is to end trachoma in Australia by 2020.
Thanks to the support of our generous donors, The Indigenous Aus-tralia Program has achieved great results to date in 2016.
Particularly, outreach to remote and under-serviced communities has resulted in over 7,000 people having their eye screened, and 936 people receiving sight restoring operations and treatments.
Education and advocacy about eye health are essential to the work of The Fred Hollows Foundation. Particularly, there were 333 school children and community members educated in eye health, including trachoma, an infectious eye infection that can lead to irreversible blindness. Australia is the only developed country that still has this disease, which is linked to poor living conditions and sanitation.
Furthermore, through The Foundation’s advocacy measures, the In-digenous Australia Program is working with governments to ensure sustained investment in high quality, accessible and cultural appro-priate eye care services to remote and under-serviced communities in Australia.
There is always more work to be done as we strive to end avoidable blindness. The Foundation relies on the continued support of our generous donors to achieve Fred’s dream of a world where no one is needlessly blind.
In 2017, The Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program will continue to improve the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people. Projected outputs include:
Interested donors should contact the Foundation directly