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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Eye checks improve vision for outback residents of Doomadgee

Date posted: 3 September 2012

Twenty optometrists and support staff from the Sunglass Hut and OPSM's charitable organisation OneSight Foundation, recently visited the Aboriginal town of Doomadgee in northwest Queensland, and transformed it into an urban optometrists' workshop.

Over two days they performed tests at the school and the Police Citizens' Youth Club (PCYC), and gave away sunglasses and 73 pairs of prescription glasses.

For Estelle George, 62, her newly prescribed sunglasses brought to light how bright the sun was in the outback town 500km north of Mount Isa. 'I can't take it off now, it's too bright,' she said.

Shaun Ned, 7, jumped back when the test of his depth perception was revealed to him in the guise of a fly suddenly bursting from the eye-test book. 'He looked real,' the year 2 student said warily.

OPSM regional eyecare manager, Melinda Toomey, said the organisation operated clinics in Mount Isa for a week every month and planned to return to Doomadgee consistently to continue checks for vision and diabetic retinopathy.

'If a person can see then they can learn, they can have a meaningful job and support their families,' she said.
Ms Toomey, an optometrist, said that trachoma remained a problem in hot and dry areas where hygiene was poor, but there was no sign of the condition from eye tests in Doomadgee.

OneSight Foundation director, Julie Urquhart, said 90 staff had volunteered to work in clinics around the world, but people were passionate about working 'in their own backyard'.

Source: The Australian


Last updated: 29 August 2012
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