94% of vision loss in Indigenous Australian’s is preventable or treatable, however, an alarming 35% of Indigenous adults have never had an eye exam.
Australia is a vast continent with more than one third of the population living outside its major cities. Of this non metropolitan population, almost 20% is dispersed across more than 1500 rural and remote communities with fewer than 5000 residents.
These communities are often too small to support traditional models of health care delivery. As a result, rural and remote residents often travel significant distances in order to access appropriate care from larger regional and urban centres. This involves the inconvenience of time away from family and employment, which is often associated with further emotional and financial impacts.
Outreach services aim to address some of these unique issues by providing more equitable access to quality health care services within the local setting. It is generally accepted that outreach programmes represent an important part of delivering efficient, effective, and sustainable health care to rural and remote communities.
The effective delivery of Outreach services is not without its own set of unique challenges. Models of health care must be adapted in order to meet the widely differing health needs of regional and remote communities. This involves significant planning, collaboration, knowledge of the local community, and innovative modes of service delivery.
There is still much work to be done in order to achieve better access to eye health care services throughout our rural and remote communities. Together with our partners and supporters, Lions Outback Vision will continue to work towards building the capacity and resources to achieve our mission.
Indigenous Eye Health Differentials
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness among Indigenous Australians (40%) and Indigenous Australians between 50 and 59 years have almost twice the prevalence of vision impairment than non-Indigenous Australians of the same age.
Vision impairment is 2.8 times higher for the Indigenous population in comparison to the general Australian community.
79% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults had self-reported vision problems however 64% of those who sought care reported that their vision problem had not been resolved.
Indigenous Children are born with better eyesight than their non-indigenous counterparts however by the time they reach adulthood, they are 6 times more likely to be blind to 3 times more likely to have low vision.
the prevalence of vision impairment in Indigenous Australians was more than double in outer regional areas compared to inner regional areas.