Alice Springs Hospital will be holding a week-long eye surgery blitz in an effort to help improve vision outcomes for the Aborigines.
A statement to establish a new collaborative framework and strategy to improve the provision of eye care in central Australia has been signed by the Fred Hollows Foundation, along with the federal government, the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation and the Northern Territory government.
Warren Snowdon, minister for Indigenous Health said it was an absolute tragedy that Indigenous people had become vision impaired or blind due to lack of access to surgery in the past.
Access to comprehensive eye health care services, including specialist care and surgery, is critical if eye health conditions are to be detected and treated as early as possible, said Mr Snowdon.
Indigenous adults are 6.2 times more likely to go blind and 2.8 times more likely to be vision impaired than the non-Indigenous population.
The intensive eye surgery blitz that will take place at the Alice Springs Hospital from April 19 to 23 will benefit about 50 patients.
It will be the ninth intensive surgery week that has occurred in central Australia since 2007, resulting in 416 procedures to date.
The strategy was one of two announced by Mr Snowdon as part of the federal government $58.3 million effort to improving Eye and Health Services for Indigenous Australians for Better Education and Employment unveiled in 2009.
Under this agreement, more than 85 communities in WA will be screened and treated for trachoma, including 20 communities previously unvisited.
There will be increased number of visits to communities to promote greater involvement and follow-up treatment.