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Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital expands Virtual Services into regional areas PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Health Minister Daniel Andrews visited the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital last week to help launch the expansion of Virtual Services between the Eye and Ear Hospital and hospitals in rural Victoria. The technology allows specialists in Melbourne to give advice via videoconferencing, to staff treating patients with eye, ear, nose and throat conditions in the emergency departments of hospitals in Hamilton, Warrnambool, Portland and Colac.

CEO Ann Clark said the technology is good news for rural Victorians who are often forced to travel to Melbourne to receive specialist treatment and advice. The launch of the service – a partnership between the South West Alliance of Rural Health, the Western District Health Service and the Eye and Ear Hospital – featured demonstrations, educations sessions and workshops.

Ms Clark said the technology affirms the Eye and Ear Hospital’s commitment to innovation and support of regional and rural healthcare providers through education and training. The state government committed $2.8 million to Virtual Services technology for rural hospitals in 2005. As part of this project, the four hospitals were awarded $80,000 to purchase the slit lamps, camera and software used to establish the Ophthalmology and ENT Virtual Service.

 
Vanity stops men from getting eye checks PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Thirteen per cent of Australian men avoid the optometrist because they're afraid they'll be told they need glasses, a poll shows. One in 10 of the 609 men surveyed by Newspoll admitted they'd never been to an optometrist. The poll, conducted for Specsavers, shows tradesmen and men who work outdoors are the worst offenders, with almost half (47%) saying they haven't had the recommended biannual eye check in the past two years.

Specsavers says the findings reveal an alarming level of apathy among Aussie males. Company director and optometrist Dr Harrison Wiesinger says avoiding regular eye tests places men at higher risk of suffering undiagnosed eye conditions that can cause blindness, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Glaucoma is estimated to affect about 300,000 Australians, with half of those people unaware they're affected, the Centre for Eye Research Australia says. It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. About 200,000 Australians are also estimated to have undiagnosed diabetic retinopathy, a disease caused by damage to the blood vessels that nourish the retina. Early detection through regular eye checks is essential to preventing and managing both these conditions.

 
Indigenous eye health improving PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 17 March 2010

A study of eye health across 30 Aboriginal communities has found an improvement in vision loss and blindness compared to 30 years ago. However, Professor Hugh Taylor said it also showed how indigenous Australians continued to trail the rest of the country in the prevention and treatment of eye disease. The research found most indigenous vision loss was caused by unoperated cataracts, diabetes, uncorrected refractive errors or trachoma.

The study took in almost 3,000 indigenous people and it found 9.4 per cent of adults had low vision, while among these 1.9 per cent were blind. This was a major improvement on a study 1980, which found 8.2 per cent of indigenous people aged over 40 were blind.

Despite the improvement, vision loss remained 'much more frequent in indigenous adults than in mainstream Australian adults'. The study showed, overall, an indigenous adult was six times more likely than a non-indigenous adult to be blind and three time more likely to have low vision.

There was a positive aspect to the study, as seen in the eye health of indigenous children. It found 1.5 per cent of indigenous children had vision loss while just 0.2 per cent were blind. An indigenous child was five times less likely to have low vision than a non-indigenous child, and about half as likely to be blind.

The research was also conducted by Professor Jill Keeffe, program manager of vision care delivery at the Vision Co-operative Research Centre in Sydney. The paper is published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

 
Optometry Giving Sight challenges Optometrists globally to Say YEStoday PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Optometry Giving Sight challenges Optometrists globally to Say YEStoday and help establish 10 new vision centres in developing countries in the first half of 2010. Today, more than 670 million people do not have access to the eye exams and glasses they need. Without glasses, children may be unable to learn at school and parents unable to provide for their families.

Training local eye care professionals and establishing community based vision centres and optical labs (where low-cost glasses are made) are the only way to solve this global problem for the long term. Optometry Giving Sight is the only global fundraising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to refractive error - simply the need for an eye exam and a pair of glasses.

At Queensland Vision and the SRC Global Founding Corporate Patron CIBA VISION will match donations in support of the Say YEStoday campaign at the conferences. Optometry Giving Sight will have a stand at both conferences and invites you to come along and find out more about our new campaign, ‘Say YEStoday for a better tomorrow’.

 
New CEO at Eyecare Partners PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Mr Kotow, a registered optometrist, has been appointed CEO at Eyecare Partners Limited. His executive career has involved working for a number of multinational companies. These include Allergan Inc. and Cooper Companies both listed on the New York stock exchange and Biocompatibles International who is listed on the London stock exchange. With 20 years of retail experience in the Australian and Asian markets he has also worked with multinational retailers such as Luxottica and Specsavers, large domestic players such as ProVision and Eyecare Plus through to the smaller independents. His previous roles have included Vice President - Asia Pacific for Coopervision and Managing Director of Hydron. Mr Kotow commenced at Eyecare Partners on March 2nd 2010 and lead the company with its plans for consolidation and the next phase of growth.

 
Diabetes sufferers encouraged to have their eyes checked regularly PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 11 March 2010

In Australia, approximately 1 million people have diabetes. After long duration of diabetes, most will develop the eye disease, diabetic retinopathy, which without treatment can cause vision loss and blindness. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and Orthoptics Australia have joined together to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye checks for people with diabetes as part of Orthoptic Awareness week from March 8 – 11. As part of this week Orthoptics Australia has been hosting a free Diabetic Retinopathy Seminar on Wednesday 10th March at the Eye and Ear Hospital.

Australian studies have found that the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy among diabetics ranges from 35% to 49% and as there are many undiagnosed diabetics, it is possible that 200,000 people in Australia could be affected by diabetic retinopathy and not be aware of it. Therefore, the Eye and Ear and Orthoptics Australia encourages all people with diabetes to have a full eye examination at least every 2 years in order to prevent diabetic retinopathy, and to reduce the incidence of vision loss.

The Centre of Eye Research Australia, research partner of the Eye and Ear, is currently recruiting for a major Australian study investigating the barriers to achieving optimal diabetes care. If you are over 18 and have Type 1 or 2 diabetes and would be willing to participate in this ground-breaking study, register your interest now by calling 03 9929 8363. Participants will benefit from an eye test at the Eye and Ear Hospital.

 
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