Improving and Integrating Urban Indigenous Health Services

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Deadly Urban Eyes Campaign to Reduce Eye Disease

IUIH and The Fred Hollows Foundation have partnered to launch a new campaign at IUIH member clinics that will increase the number of eye health checks being performed and reduce rates of eye disease in community.

The Deadly Urban Eyes campaign encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to have a yearly eye health check at their local Aboriginal Medical Service.

Regular eye health checks play an important role in reducing the rate of untreated eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma, trachoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

The campaign is being implemented by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) with funding from The Fred Hollows Foundation, and builds on their existing partnership across the region.

It adds a new dimension to the hugely successful Deadly Choices social marketing campaign which has seen an average 50% year-on-year increase in the number of preventative health checks performed at IUIH’s 18 member clinics across South East Queensland.

IUIH Chief Executive Officer Adrian Carson says that the program will improve access to preventative eye health services and reduce rates of eye disease.

“Both IUIH and The Fred Hollows Foundation are committed to ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can access quality eye health services,” he said.

“We know that untreated eye disease is a key contributor to preventable blindness among our community and is often caused by other diseases that affect our people such as diabetes and hypertension.

“This campaign will see more people checking in with our optometrists on a regular basis, so we can pick up and treat these diseases early, and close the gap in health outcomes in our community.

“We have significantly expanded our frontline eye health services over the past year so that they are now fully integrated across our 18 IUIH member clinics across South East Queensland. Integration of these services into the IUIH Model of Care means we are connected to community and able to refer quickly to specialist services if and when they are needed,” Mr Carson said.

People who have their eyes checked will receive a Deadly Eyes gift pack, including sunglasses, lens cloth and spray, as an incentive.

Gabi Hollows said the partnership was a successful model for bringing eye health care to communities in South East Queensland. “The Deadly Urban Eyes campaign is a great program that will make a difference in the vital eye health care sector,” she said.

The Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program Manager Jaki Adams-Barton, said the Deadly Choices Eye Check for South East Queensland was an important component of the work The Fred Hollows Foundation is doing Australia-wide.

“Our program focuses on reducing rates of cataract, diabetic retinopathy uncorrected refractive error and trachoma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Getting your eyes checked regularly is key given 94% of vision loss for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is preventable or treatable if caught early,” she said.