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Bionic eye in sight thanks to $42 million PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Leading Australian researchers have welcomed an announcement today by the Australian Government of $42M in funding for the development of a bionic eye capable of restoring vision to the blind.

Bionic Vision Australia is a consortium including the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales, the Bionic Ear Institute, the Centre for Eye Research Australia and NICTA. The project is also supported by researchers from the Australian National University and the University of Western Sydney.

Bionic Vision Australia Chairman, Professor Emeritus David Penington AC says the consortium is honoured to have been selected by the Australian Research Council for this funding.
 
Luxottica Retail to add up to 300 stores in Australia PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 15 December 2009

In a recent interview with Business Spectator, Chris Beers, the CEO of Luxottica's Asia Pacific, Greater China and South African businesses said that he is expecting modest Christmas sales for this year and that he is surprised the Reserve Bank chose to again raise interest rates in December.

Chris Beer also mentioned that Luxxottica plans to open approximately 300 of new stores in Australia over the next five years.

 
Screening could abolish diabetic blindness says expert PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 10 December 2009

A screening program aimed at detecting the early signs of diabetic retinopathy (DR) could abolish diabetic blindness. This was the message from experts at a briefing to some of Australia’s leading diabetes and eye health specialists. Professor Paul Dodson, Director of the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening and Training Centre (HEDRSCE) said screening for diabetic retinopathy has a major impact on the reduction of blindness in the diabetic population. “Since HEDRSCE began its screening program in 1993, the rate of diabetic blindness in the population we serve has reduced by about a third”.“Ophthalmologists in Iceland, where they’ve implemented a screening program that works closely with diabetes clinics, maintain they’ve abolished diabetes related blindness completely. This is a staggering achievement.” Professor Dodson likened the screening program to those used to detect breast and cervical cancer. “A hard copy image of the retina is taken and analysed by trained professionals. If a problem’s detected, the patient is alerted and referred to an eye clinic for treatment”.

CERA Managing Director Jonathan Crowston said that to implement a similar program in Australia, the Government will need to be convinced of the social and financial cost benefits of early screening programs. “Approximately 200,000 Victorians are living with diabetes and we estimate that more than 2,000 have sight threatening diabetic retinopathy,” Professor Crowston said. “The UK experience provides a compelling case for support. The program ticks all boxes – it’s cost effective, it tackles a common and growing problem, the test is easy and painless and treatment is widely available”.

Professor Crowston said CERA is already developing a service that will use retinal imaging to predict diabetic retinopathy and vascular disease through its Retinal Vascular Imaging Centre (RetVIC). Diabetes is a major epidemic in Australia. It affects 1.7 million Australians, or roughly 8% of the population, and a further 275 Australians develop the condition every day. 2 DR is the highest cause of blindness in working-age adults.

Patients with diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose vision or go blind than those without the condition. “Diabetic Retinopathy – New Approaches to Management” was co-hosted by CERA, the NHMRC Centres for Translational Clinical Research in Major Eye Diseases and for Clinical Science in Diabetes, the University of Melbourne and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

 
Update on Cataract Surgery Rebates PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 27 November 2009

On 25 November 2009 the Senate passed a motion to disallow the Medicare rebates for cataract surgery items. This means that as of 26 November 2009 no rebates will be payable for MBS Items 42698, 42701, 42702 and 42718. Any further updates in relation to these items will be provided by circular and also on Latest News for MBS Online.

MBS online is available at www.mbsonline.gov.au

 
Australian Government and Vision 2020 Australia aim to eliminate blindness in region within 10 years PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 27 November 2009

The Fred Hollows Foundation has united with the Australian Government and other vision care organisations to eliminate avoidable blindness and reduce the impact of vision loss throughout South East Asia and the Pacific over the next 10 years.

The partnership is part of the Rudd Government's focus on improving living standards, health care and access to education in the Asia Pacific - and is a key element of AusAID's new Development for All disability strategy. The Hon Bob McMullan MP, Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, launched the partnership in Canberra today with a message that 80% of global blindness is avoidable, treatable or preventable.

As a result of this partnership, as many as 100 million people in South East Asia and the Pacific will have their vision restored or improved. The 2008 federal budget contained a $45 million commitment to improving eye health in the Asia Pacific. Since then, there has been much progress in establishing a Consortium partnership and developing an agreement to commence the first stages of this groundbreaking initiative.

 
New social media tools for people with disabilities PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 26 November 2009

Media Access Australia (MAA) has launched two new products as part of a review of accessibility features in popular social media websites to enable people with disabilities to take advantage of these sites. The first is the Social Media Guide to help people with disabilities find accessibility features in a number of popular social media tools, including Skype, Facebook, YouTube and many others.

MAA has also developed the Social Media Accessibility Review, reporting on the overall state of accessibility across social media. The products are available from www.mediaaccess.org.au/newmedia. You can access these products by navigating to the User Access Guide under New Media and goto Social Media.

 
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