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Project Background

Fred was a fierce defender of human rights. He fought for what he believed in, especially when it came to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Currently Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are 3 times more likely than other Australians to go blind. But 90% of their vision loss is preventable of treatable and 35% of adults have never had an eye exam.

The Fred Hollows Foundation is making Fred’s dream a reality – that is to see a world where no person is needlessly blind and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people exercise their right to good health.

Project Overview

The Top End Outreach Ophthalmology Resources Project is reducing avoidable blindness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Top End of the Northern Territory. 

Before the commencement of the project, patients needing eye surgery would have to travel long distances to Darwin, often staying in the city for extended periods of time, away from family and community commit-ments. 

Across Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are likely to wait more than a year for cataract surgery, which is 56% longer than the wider Australian population. 

Through this project, The Fred Hollows Foundation is delivering services to more than 33 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the Top End. 

Successfully, the rates of early detection, intervention and treatment of eye health conditions have improved. Furthermore, patient surgery wait-times have significantly decreased and access to services has improved.

Key Project Outcomes

  • Screened 1,653 people for eye health conditions;
  • Performed 132 cataract operations;
  • Treated 67 people for Diabetic Retinopathy and other eye health conditions; and
  • Conducted over 70 community visits, providing much-needed ophthalmic services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in some of the most remote parts of Australia.

Project Case Study: Les

Through the Top End Outreach Ophthalmology Resources Project, people like Les have had their sight and dignity restored. 

After working for 50 years as a stockman and station hand at a station in the Northern Territory, the 83-year-old had developed dense cataracts in both eyes. Les was able to receive surgery through this project at Katherine hospital. 

“After my first operation I could see better out of my eye. I was right in line to get my second one fixed up” he said.

Les was excited to tell his friends and family how simple and painless it is to get surgery for cataract, “you don’t have to be blind, next day I could see better”

Les is now able to see his grandchildren grow up because of your generous contribution.

What Next?

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.

The Fred Hollows Foundation will continue to support this project to en-sure the current eye care services remain accessible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

The Foundation will also continue to address the existing workforce shortages. There are currently only three full-time ophthalmologists ser-vicing the entire of the Northern Territory, with a population of early 212,000 – 30 per cent of whom are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Our aim is to train an additional four ophthalmologists to service this population. 

We are also looking to broaden our geographic reach to all remote and under serviced communities in the Top End and increase our health pro-motion activities to raise awareness about eye health.

Can I Visit This Project?

Interested donors should contact The Foundation directly.

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