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The Aboriginal vision program was established in 1999 in New South Wales (NSW) upon invitation from the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC). The program was extended in 2006 to the Northern Territory (NT), working closely with Regional Eye Health Coordinators (REHC) and the associated Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS).
The program was initiated due to the lack of access and under utilisation of eye care services (provided by mainstream hospitals, private optometrists and medical eye care practitioners) by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Optometry services are provided by the Foundation staff optometrists and contracted locum optometrists, with 93 optometrists currently participating in the program.
The Foundation established and currently supports 111 eye clinics in remote and regional locations across NSW and 75 locations in the Northern Territory. The majority of the locations are identified as a national priority (communities in need of visiting optometry services according to the Visiting Optometrists Service, Department of Health and Ageing - a major funder for our outreach optometry services). Clinics are conducted within ACCHS facilities and organised by the REHCs, working with Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS).
The program has:
The partnerships have ensured programs are developed in accordance with community needs and cultural sensitivities. It has also involved the collaboration with a number of state, federal, community and professional organisations and individuals. This has provided efficiencies in service and resource provision, essential to the sustainability of the program.
Aboriginal vision program
Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation
Global Head Office
Level 4 North Wing
Rupert Myers Building
Gate 14 Barker Street
University of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2052
Ph: (02) 9385 7516