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Homemieditorialmivision Issue 199 April 2024

mivision Issue 199 April 2024

It’s often said that Australia has one of the best health systems in the world. And yet there are still gaps.

In this issue we look at the gaps that exist between metro, rural, and remote eye care, and how a private-public enterprise is enabling ophthalmologists to fill some of these gaps by providing essential eye care and surgeries to patients living in the Northern Territory. While some may question the need to involve a private organisation in the delivery of public health services, Associate Professor Ashish Agar, Vice President of the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists explained that the public system is “struggling on every front”, particularly in regional and remote areas where “there are so many moving parts”. He said organisations like Vanguard Health have the systems in place to manage outreach programs efficiently, which makes it so much easier for ophthalmologists to be involved.

We also look at the gaps that exist in paediatric screening and how this impacts social and academic development. Optometrists and ophthalmologists alike are calling for a consistent, national screening program that targets children before their education can be impacted by ocular conditions. As Professor Frank Martin points out, in NSW the StEPS (Statewide Eyesight Preschooler Screening) program – upheld as the best the country has to offer – costs just AU$5 million per year to run. A drop in the bucket that would make the world of difference to future generations.

Our clinical focus in this issue of mivision is dry eye disease; a disease that affects up to 50% of the population, depending on geographic location, and for some can become debilitating. Thanks in particular to the Tear Film and Ocular Surface (TFOS) Society, our understanding of this multifactorial disease is greater than ever before. We also have new treatments, like Zest and low level light therapy to help tackle dry eye, as you’ll read about in this issue.