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PROVISION OF EYE HEALTH EQUIPMENT AND TRAINING

is funded by the Australian Government, Department of Health, and is co-led by Brien Holden Vision Institute with the Australian College of Optometry following a consortium approach with the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia,
the Centre for Eye Health and Optometry Australia.

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About the program

The program funds the installation of eye health testing equipment, and the training and support for the health services using the equipment in 155 sites across Australia. In many sites, the equipment installed is a non-mydriatic (without pupil dilation) retinal camera, and/or a slit lamp where required to primary health care clinics who provide care to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. Training on using the cameras is being delivered to Aboriginal health workers, nurses, general practitioners and any other relevant personnel.

The overarching aim of the program is to increase the rates of diabetic retinopathy screening by Indigenous primary health care services and supporting referral pathways for comprehensive eye examinations. Community engagement is a key principle and translates as direct engagement with relevant regional or state-wide eye health groups, to ensure retinal photography complements the exiting eye care and primary health care services in the region.

Provision of Eye Health Equipment and Training

Diabetes related blindness in Aboriginal Australians is 14 times higher than in non-Indigenous populations and 94% of vision loss in Aboriginal communities is preventable or treatable. These worrying facts have motivated action by the Australian Government to fund a national program providing eye health testing equipment, and also training and support for the health services using the equipment, in more than 100 sites across Australia.

We applied to coordinate the new program Provision of Eye Health Equipment and Training supported by the Department of Health, and are co-leading with The Australian College of Optometry through a consortium approach with the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, the Centre for Eye Health and Optometry Australia.

The consortium will work collaboratively to implement the integrated program with guidance from an advisory group of representatives from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service sector and aims to greatly increase access to detection and appropriate care of eye disease.

The map below shows the locations across Australia where the equipment is being provided. Recipient locations are determined by Commonwealth Department of Health, following the National Eye Care Equipment Inventory Project conducted by The Fred Hollows Foundation. The retinal cameras are being rolled out to 155 locations across Australia. Locations receiving a camera are in orange and locations that have been trained are in green.

Training provided at each site

Every primary health care service receiving a retinal camera is provided with a comprehensive training package to enable the functional use of the eye health testing equipment. Training package includes:

Retinal camera training for primary health care workers    
  • 2 hours online provided by Brien Holden Vision Institute Academy
  • 1 day face-to-face training provided by Consortium members plus local co-trainer
  • Up to one day of follow up provided by the regular optometrist to that location
Retinal image assessment  
  •  2 hours online provided by the Centre for Eye Health
  • Online grading provided by the Centre for Eye Health until June 2020
Retinal Camera