13 July 2015
This July, RANZCO are holding their annual eye awareness month ‘JulEYE’ which aims to raise funds for research projects focussing on vision impairment and blindness, support international development projects and to inform people about the importance of regular health check- ups with an ophthalmologist or optometrist every 2 years.
Australia is currently sitting behind the rest of the world when it comes to recognising rare diseases. Contrary to misinformed belief, eye disease is not just and affliction to the elderly. It can occur in babies, children, teenagers and adults, hence why it is so important to maintain regular eye check- ups as early detection is the key to minimising the impact of eye disease.
75% of vision loss is preventable or treatable if detected early through regular check-ups, yet even though this is the case, 2 out of 5 Australians are not having their eyes checked regularly every 2 years. Despite one third of Australians fearing blindness as much as cancer, vision loss continues to be overlooked by the public.
Over 1600 children in Australia suffer from significant vision loss or impairment every year, compared to 600 with cancer. While research has helped to find cures for 90% of those suffering from cancer, visually impaired children live their entire lives with poor eyesight. By continuing research and promoting awareness, these statistics can change.
CEO of The RANZCO Eye Foundation, Jacinta Spurrett explains, “The Foundation is currently funding numerous vision research projects and sustainable patient service programs in Australia and across the Asia Pacific. We are also committed to improving Aboriginal eye health by working with local communities and Indigenous organisations across the Kimberley/ Pilbara regions to provide screening, treatment and education.”
Regular check- ups are crucial to preventing and decreasing the risk of eye conditions, especially in young children and those with a family history of eye disease. The first 8 years of a child’s life are critical for eye development, so if problems are not picked up during this time it can cause permanent damage or vision loss. This makes regular visits to the optometrist a must for all parents.
If you are experiencing any problems with your eye sight it is important that you seek medical advice from a GP, optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible to prevent any eye illness or disease. If you would like more information on JulEYE, visit www.eyefoundation.org.au/juleye
Information sourced from: RANZCO, www.eyefoundation.com