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Friday / May 27.
HomeminewsLions Eye Clinic Saves Sight in WA

Lions Eye Clinic Saves Sight in WA

A mobile eye health van fitted with state-of-the-art equipment will travel throughout Western Australia delivering vital services to regional, remote and Indigenous communities, reducing rates of preventable blindness and vision loss.

Launched in March, the Lions Outback Vision Van (LOVV) represents a AU$5.1 million investment by the State Government, Lotterywest and the Lions Eye Institute (LEI) into eye health services in the State. The van received a further $565,000 in funding from the Australian Government for specialist equipment.

The inaugural McCusker Director of Lions Outback Vision, Dr. Angus Turner said the mobile eye service was a game-changer for regional and remote Western Australia. “This service will help bridge the gap in connecting regional and remote Western Australians to eye health services,” he said. “In remote WA, eye specialist coverage is currently up to 19 times lower than in urban areas and rural residents are three times less likely to see an ophthalmologist.

“People in regional and remote Western Australia, therefore, are far more likely to be afflicted by preventable blindness and vision loss.”

The LOVV is fitted with state-of-the-art ophthalmic equipment and will travel 24,000km each year offering services in Albany, Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Leonora, Wiluna, Newman, Roebourne, Karratha, Port Hedland, Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra and Katanning.

Staffed by eye health specialists, it has the capacity to treat 200 patients per week for a range of eye conditions including cataracts, refractive error, trachoma, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

LEI Managing Director Professor David Mackey said the ability to deliver specialist ophthalmology services into regional and remote WA would improve equity of access to health care across the State, help build local capacity in health services and raise awareness of eye health issues.

“In many instances it will be a practical and cost-effective alternative to transporting patients to Perth from the outback,” he said.

Lions Outback Vision is the outreach arm of the LEI and continues a long tradition of providing ophthalmic services in regional and remote Western Australia that began with the first mass glaucoma caravan screenings in the 1960s.

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