Vision 2020 helps Kalamunda residents see the future


Lesmurdie resident Margaret Morrell was among the final participants to have her eyes tested as part of the National Eye Health Survey as the survey came to an end on Saturday in Perth. Picture: Vision 2020 Australia/Matthew Dwyer Photography
Lesmurdie resident Margaret Morrell was among the final participants to have her eyes tested as part of the National Eye Health Survey as the survey came to an end on Saturday in Perth. Picture: Vision 2020 Australia/Matthew Dwyer Photography

EYE health professionals conducted a final eye test in Kalamunda on Saturday, marking the end of a year-long pioneering national research study mapping the eye health of Australians.

The WA suburb was one of nine testing sites in the state where eye health professionals have been collecting information for the National Eye Health Survey over the past two months.

The survey which is being undertaken by Vison 2020 Australia and the Centre for Eye Research Australia began rolling out across the country in March last year.

It is the first survey of its kind to map the prevalence of vision impairment and blindness in both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Vision 2020 Australia chief executive Jennifer Gersbeck said the WA results would form an important part of the research and help to deliver a clearer picture of the state of Australian eye health.

“The survey will give us strong evidence of what the eye health issues are and importantly where we most need to direct frontline eye health services,” she said.

“As Australia’s population ages, we expect to see an increase in the number of people with conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and refractive error.

“Being armed with accurate data will help us to manage these conditions efficiently and effectively.”

To mark the completion of the survey, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care and Hasluck MHR Ken Wyatt joined eye health professionals and researchers in Kalamunda on April 16.

Principal investigator Mohamed Dirani said existing interventions and future programs were planned and implemented based on 20-year-old data.

“The National Eye Health Survey will give us an up-to-date, evidenced-based picture of the prevalence and causes of vision impairment in Australia,” Dr Dirani said.

“The results of the research will also provide invaluable follow up data for the National Indigenous Eye Health Survey conducted in 2008, where the effects of interventions since then can be assessed and specific eye health strategies for the Indigenous community can be better guided.”