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Date posted: 17 July 2013
The Fred Hollows Foundation and partners have restored sight to 36 people from remote Indigenous communities and screened a further 65 at eye intensives held this year in the Northern Territory. The intensives, part of The Foundation's remote service delivery cataract surgery pilot, are helping reduce elective surgery waiting times in remote communities.
'Blinding cataracts are 12 times more common in Aboriginal Australian adults yet it takes almost twice as long for these cataract patients to receive treatment compared to the mainstream population', said Jaki Adams-Barton, the Foundation's Indigenous Australia program manager. 'This is largely because of the lack of specialist services available to remote communities, long waiting times and fear of surgery,' she said.
Otto Dan from Gunbalanya, an Aboriginal community in Western Arnhem Land, was one of the people who underwent sight-restoring surgery. He was diagnosed with cataract when The Foundation's outreach optometry program visited his community last year. The surgery was life changing.
'I'm happy now... I can see all my grandchildren and great grandchildren,' he said.
It is expected that at least 100 more people will receive cataract operations through these intensives in 2013, held in collaboration with the Australian Government and Northern Territory Government's Top End Hospital Network.
Source: Fred Hollows Foundation