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Seeing Eye Dog puppy Zeus lends a paw to encourage volunteers PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Vision Australia stopped the press - literally - while visiting staff at The Australian newspaper. Around 90 media staff took time out to hear about volunteer opportunities at Vision Australia before the General Manager of Nationwide News presented a cheque to support our services.

The engaging and information packed presentation showcased Vision Australia as well as volunteer opportunities available. The collaboration was a result of our ongoing media partnership with The Australian newspaper which has delivered great results during the past year including increased editorial and free advertising space.

David Fisher Dobbin kicked things off by introducing the audience to Vision Australia and our services for people who are blind or have low vision. He then talked a little about the different volunteering roles available including providing personal support narration of materials, assisting with gift wrapping in Myer stores at Christmas time and providing audio description at shows or events.

Vision Australia's Speakers Network Officer Nicolas Gleeson wowed everyone with stories about his adventures on Mount Kilimanjaro and behind the wheel of a car on Sydney's Eastern Creek raceway. He also talked about how the volunteers involved in these experiences had really made a difference in his life. Audio Description volunteer Jaslyn Hall followed Nick and gave the group a great insight into how volunteering has impacted on her.

Ophthalmologists accused of fee 'blackmail' over cataract surgery PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A medical workforce expert is urging the federal government to stick to its plans to slash Medicare rebates for cataract surgery, accusing ophthalmologists of "blatant blackmail" over their campaign to stir public outrage at the move. In the first declaration of support for the government's stance from a high-profile medical professional, Peter Brooks -- the former head of the University of Queensland's health faculty -- said he was writing to federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon to back the move and suggest cuts could be made more widely.

He was also proposing the government fund a pilot study to examine the feasibility of training mid-level health workers, such as optometrists and physician assistants, to perform cataract surgery instead of ophthalmologists. Professor Brooks's comments are likely to anger the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists, which last week ran a full-page advertisement in The Australian claiming "Grandma's not happy!" and suggesting the government was "blind to the facts".

The advertisement, also endorsed by the seniors' charity Council on the Ageing, urged readers to phone their local MP or talkback radio station to protest at the plans to cut rebates for cataract surgery by 50 per cent, from $831.60 to $409.60, from November 1. ASO president Russell Bach said doctors would not drop their fees, and patients would instead be hit with new gap charges of between $600 and $900. The Australian Medical Association has previously criticised the rebate cuts for cataract surgery and some other procedures as "ill-informed and misguided".

Professor Brooks, who is director of the Australian Health Workforce Institute, said those supporting the ASO's campaign "should be shamed into understanding what it is -- blackmail". He cited the work of the Fred Hollows Foundation, which claims to have reduced the cost of cataract surgery to below $25 in some developing countries, partly by training non-doctors how to do it.

Vision Group successfully renegotiates debt facility PDF
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Australian News
Monday, 24 August 2009

Vision Group Holdings Limited (ASX: VGH) announced that it has successfully refinanced its debt facility for a two year term. The renegotiated debt facility remains with the existing lending syndicate comprising Westpac and ANZ. The new facility has a $120m limit (previously $160m), reducing to $100m over the 2 year term.

The combination of the renewed facility and the company’s continued strong free cash flows will ensure Vision Group is well placed to support ongoing organic growth initiatives as well as reduce gearing levels over the next two years.

Vision Australia reaches out to the Swan Hill region PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 20 August 2009

As our population becomes older, the number of people with eye conditions will increase. According to the World Health Organisation the number of Australians who are blind or have low vision is set to more than double to 600,000 by 2020.

Vision Australia's low vision clinic will help people who are blind or have low vision find the right equipment for their everyday activities. Bev Devidas, an Orthoptist at Vision Australia has been assisting people from the Swan Hill region who are blind or have low vision.

This service is particularly aimed at people who are unable to read small print when using their prescribed spectacles or those with eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Myer signs deal with Luxottica PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Department store group Myer has secured an agreement with global eyewear specialist Luxottica Group to place the Sunglass Hut store in each of Myer's 65 department stores across Australia.

Myer, which says it is Australia's largest department store group, has 65 branches across Australia. After trials of the store concept proved successfuI, Sunglass Hut-branded shops will be opened in 30 of these by November this year, the statement said. In the remaining 35, the retail space will not be branded Sunglass Hut and should open in the next few months.

Sales for Myer are expected to improve after the roll-out, Myer said without specifying a quantum.

Significant number of Aussies may have glaucoma PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Federal Government believes a significant number of Australians have the eye disease glaucoma, but are unaware of it. Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon says glaucoma continues to be one of the leading causes of blindness in Australia.

It is estimated around 300,000 people suffer from it. But Mr Snowdon says around half of them do not even know they have the condition, and therefore do not seek treatment.

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