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University of Melbourne researchers estimate it could take five years to close the gap in Indigenous eye health if spending was increased. They believe Australia needs to allocate $100 million more over the five year time frame.
Professor Hugh Taylor said almost all Aboriginal blindness and poor vision can be treated or avoided. He indicated that the money required is a relatively small amount in the health sector and the increased spend would have a certain and significant impact. 'I wish that this will be picked up in the 2012 budget and the states and territories will follow the Commonwealth's lead and we'll have this started to be implemented next year so that within five years we've closed the gap for vision,' he explained.
Professor Taylor said studies show young Indigenous children have good eye health but that changes later in life. 'But by the time they reach the age of 40, Indigenous adults have six times as much blindness,' he said. 'Almost all the vision loss they have is unnecessary, 90% of it is preventable or treatable.'