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Wednesday / June 29.
HomeminewsVision Van’s Successful Journey

Vision Van’s Successful Journey

After three months on the road, covering more than 16,000 kilometres in five states, the ACT and 37 regional and suburban locations, the Novartis Vision Van made its final stop in Corrimal, south of Sydney, in December 2008.

This signified the completion of the Vision Van’s inaugural journey around Australia screening elderly people for Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

In an Australian first, the seven-metre-long Winnebago motor home was transformed into a consulting room by day and a comfortable home-on-wheels by night, driven by Sydney optometrist Li Chen and her partner Paul. The van was decked out with state of the art diagnostic tools and screened more than 900 pairs of eyes detecting 90 dry AMD cases and 26 wet AMD cases.

Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is caused when new blood vessels grow in the back of the eye. The new blood vessels leak fluid and blood, which pools under the lightsensitive retina. This scars the retina, causing irreversible sight loss.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world among people over 50 years of age. With early detection of the disease being crucial in halting its progression, the 116 patients detected by Li as suffering from AMD, now stand a much better chance of saving their sight.

Another three million Australians are also now aware of AMD through nearly 350 media articles generated about the Vision Van around Australia. Due to Vision Van’s success in 2008, plans have been finalised for this year’s 90-day tour which will roll-out on 30 March to 25 June 2009. This time the Vision Van will screen at 28 locations across three Australian states.

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