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Sunday / July 14.
HomeminewsCentre for Eye Health Saving Sight

Centre for Eye Health Saving Sight

It has been one year since the Centre for Eye Health (CFEH) first opened its doors on the campus of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and already it is making a significant contribution to ocular health.

Providing state-of-the-art eye imaging and visual system diagnostic services to the community at no charge, its aim is to help reduce the incidence of preventable blindness through the early detection of eye diseases and to support the ophthalmic profession with its regular professional education events. The Centre is a joint initiative of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and UNSW.

“Whilst the growth in practitioner registrations and client referrals is a great achievement, it is the real patient outcomes we are all most proud of,” says director Michael Kalloniatis, who cites the following cases as highlights of the Centre’s work.

Case 1: Saving Sight

For many years Maria has supported the work of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT as a Puppy Pal. Her regular financial donations have helped to turn some of the cutest puppies into highly skilled Guide Dogs.

Whilst the growth in practitioner registrations and client referrals is a great achievement, it is the real patient outcomes we are all most proud of

Recently, Maria experienced another side of the eye care industry, when she was referred to CFEH after her optometrist detected drusen in the back of the eye, predisposing her to early aged-related macular degeneration.

There was also an intra-ocular pressure (IOP) difference of ~7mmHg between the two eyes. As part of the assessment at CFEH, the macular changes were evaluated and a full evaluation of the optic nerve and corrected IOPs (after corneal thickness measures) suggested that both early macular and early glaucomatous changes were present. Identified so early, Maria’s conditions can now be appropriately managed to prevent future vision loss.

Case 2: Saving Quality of Life

12-year-old Sarah was referred to CFEH by her optometrist for further investigation of what appeared to be swollen optic nerve heads. The clinical team at CFEH performed a suite of tests to quantify the optic nerve changes (OCT and HRT) and liaised closely with the on-site consultant ophthalmologists and the referring optometrist. Analysis of the test results led to a referral for Sarah to a hospital neurology department, where she was diagnosed with craniostenosis, a condition that may result in increased pressure on the brain resulting in optic nerve swelling.

Timely detection means the most appropriate management plan can be implemented and Sarah’s quality of life will be minimally impacted.

Case 3: Saving Lives

Anna was referred by her local optometrist to CFEH for photo documentation and measurement of what appeared to be a small naevus on her retina. In this case, the analysis by CFEH confirmed that it was indeed an innocuous naevus.

While Anna’s result was good, the team at CFEH has identified and measured at least two lesions outside the range of normal in other patients. The ophthalmic team has made a provisional diagnosis of choroidal melanoma and recommended urgent referral to a retinal specialist. Uveal melanoma is a life-threatening cancer of the eye, requiring specialist management.

CFEH Highlights
  • More than 2,500 referrals from optometrists and ophthalmologists in first year
  • More than 700 optometrists and 30 ophthalmologists in NSW/ACT are now registered
  • 350 eye care practitioners have each referred at least one and up to 86 patients
  • 70 per cent of clients are from outside of the Sydney central metropolitan area