Mobile eye health centre for regional and indigenous Australians
Western New South Wales has been selected as the testing ground for a new mobile eye health clinic designed to care for rural and indigenous Australians.
The Federal Government has pledged $880,000 for the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists to establish mobile teams in four states and territories.
The newly formed NSW team will start operations within the next two months, with consultations scheduled for Cobar, Bourke, Brearrina and Lightning Ridge.
The Society's Chief Executive, Kerry Gallagher, says the Indigenous and Remote Eye Health Service (IRIS) will use the funding to purchase specialist equipment.
"The phaco machine has a very small ultrasound tip that allows the injection and extraction of fluids into the eye," he said. "It allows almost sutureless cataract surgery which means that rehabilitation is much quicker and therefore people who don't have regular access to a specialist won't necessarily have the same need for long term attention."
The centres will be designed to bridge the gap in quality of care between rural and metropolitan areas.
The announcement comes as research shows that rural and indigenous Australians are up to 12 times more likely to contract an eye disease, with cataract surgery desperately needed throughout the country.