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The Avoidable Blindness project, which aims to reduce the avoidable blindness caused by trachoma and diabetic retinopathy (DR) in Indigenous communities, was launched in Australia last month. The project is being driven by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust which was established last year to support charitable projects that contribute to improving the lives of citizens of the Commonwealth.
The project will invest in research, technology and skills development, and foster links between international centres of excellence for eye health and eye care services with the aim of increasing surgical competence and making a significant impact on preventable blindness and loss of sight.
The trachoma strategies of the project include implementing the SAFE (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environment) strategy for trachoma control and increasing the presence of ophthalmologists and optometrists in remote communities. The strategies related to the reduction of vision loss from DR involve promoting regular eye examinations for those with diabetes and preventing avoidable vision loss through timely provision of laser treatment.
The project will be working closely with National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, the Fred Hollows Foundation, Vision 2020, Professor Hugh Taylor, Professor Paul Mitchell and other leading Australian experts.
Source: The West Australian, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia