Despite higher rates of vision loss, research consistently shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use eye health services at lower rates than non-Indigenous people. Over one-third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults report that they had never had an eye examination. Only 20% of Indigenous adults wear glasses for distance compared to the non-Aboriginal community.
The EACH Health Promotion Team have joined partnering schools and services to implementing the Bunjils Mirring Nganga-djak Project, which aims to close this gap by:
- Increasing the number of Aboriginal people in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne who have had an eye examination.
- Increasing the knowledge of the East Melbourne Aboriginal community that eye tests are important for everyone.
To increase the numbers of eye testing, two EACH Health Promotion Officers (one who is Aboriginal) have worked on the project. Strategies have included:
- Joining the Eastern Metropolitan Melbourne Aboriginal Eye Health Regional Stakeholder Group
- Used the Aboriginal Journey Tracks School Cultural Program, to bring optometry visits from the ACO into schools
- Working with Aboriginal students to produce posters promoting eye testing for the Aboriginal community
- Developed a short film promoting eye testing, launched at the ‘Healthy Mob Day’ – See below.
- Thirty-one Aboriginal students in four schools screened. Twelve students, 39 % required glasses.
- Ten people signed up for eye checks at the launch of the Optometry film
- We have seen an increase in the amount of Aboriginal people using the EACH Optometry Clinic Service.
Above: A school student having his eyes tested and receiving appropriate prescription glasses to improve his vision.
These posters are available for download to be used by anyone wanting to promote Aboriginal eye health.
For more information on the EACH Optometry Clinic Service, contact us on 1300 003 224.
For more information on the Bunjils Mirring Nganga-djak Project, please contact Liz Senior, Senior Health Promotion Officer – email@example.com or Vanessa Murdoch, Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer – Vanessa.Murdoch@each.com.au.