The Centre For Eye Health (CFEH) is calling for more optometrists and ophthalmologists from NSW and the ACT to register and refer appropriate patients for advanced imaging and assessment.
The Centre, which caters to people who are unable to afford private health and can not wait in the public system, is a joint initiative by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and The University of New South Wales. There is no cost to attend the Centre and people are usually seen within three weeks of being referred.
Over 10,000 people at risk of losing their vision in NSW and ACT have been referred to the CFEH in just three years.
“Early detection of eye disease is the single most important thing we can do to save sight” said centre director, Professor Michael Kalloniatis. “Because of the commitment and foresight of Guide Dogs and UNSW, the stretched public health sector is better able to direct its valuable resources and ophthalmic expertise towards patients with a confirmed diagnosis and urgent treatment needs. Equally important, 10,000 people who might still be sitting on a waiting list, or who may have ignored a private referral because they can’t afford the fees, have now been comprehensively assessed and triaged.”
primary eye care, delivered locally by well-trained and sufficiently resourced optometrists, is the future
Professor Kalloniatis said, “primary eye care, delivered locally by well-trained and sufficiently resourced optometrists, is the future. Optometrists are ideally placed to educate and triage patients in their own community, managing conditions within the scope of practice, utilising expertise from providers such as CFEH, and refering only those needing treatment and surgical intervention.
“With a growing and ageing Australian population, the sustainability of our health system depends on providing better quality specialist referrals and more appropriate locally-based care. In conjunction with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and UNSW, and alongside the optometrists and ophthalmologists who refer disadvantaged and at-risk patients to us, we are working hard to make this happen.”