Rural, Remote and Indigenous Development

The big picture.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander children have better eyesight than other Australian children, but by the time they are over 40 years of age they are six times more likely to be blind.
  • The rise in diabetes and diabetic eye disease is going to make this problem even worse over coming years.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 3 Indigenous adults have diabetes but only 20% have had the recommended eye examination.
  • Blindness is both a result and a cause of poverty. When people regain their sight, their quality of life is vastly improved.
  • Most severe vision loss from diabetes is preventable with regular eye exams and timely treatment.
  • There are approximately 1,000 Indigenous diabetics in the Kimberley alone.

What we're doing.

  • Western Australia’s remote Kimberley and Pilbara regions have the lowest coverage of eye care services in the country. We’re funding long-term eye care programs in these regions to reduce eye disease and prevent blindness caused by diabetes. The programs are screening an estimated 1,500 patients in the Kimberley/Pilbara each year and managing diabetic eye conditions in approximately 500.
  • Eye surgeons primarily based in Perth provide outreach services to larger regional centres and smaller remote communities.
  • Using everyday technology, patients in remote areas can also have their eyes screened and diagnosed by eye surgeons over 2,000km away in Perth.
  • In close collaboration with Lions Eye Institute, WA and local health services, the programs are providing education, training and awareness to ensure a sustainable future of eye care in these regions.

Current Projects

Kimberley Diabetic Eye Care Program
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  • Raised more than $24.5 million for vision initiatives since 2003.
  • Our partnership with ORIA has supported more than 202 eye health programs since inception.
  • Raised more than $9.1 million specifically for vision research.
  • Helped more than 83,000 patients with sight-saving procedures across Asia Pacific since 2005.
  • Screened and treated more than 6,000 Aboriginals across the Kimberley/Pilbara regions since 2010.
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