Queensland’s IDEAS Van (Indigenous Diabetes Eyes and Screening) has teamed up with the Australian charity Essilor Vision Foundation in a unique collaboration aimed at improving the vision of the State’s regional and remote indigenous people.

The IDEAS Van initiative closes the health gap for Indigenous and remote communities by providing a visiting service that gives access to first class specialist services in the familiar cultural surrounds of a Community Controlled Health Service, thus improving compliance and health outcomes.

The initiative builds a working partnership with all participants involved in the delivery of health services to Indigenous people in Queensland where good work is already being done to close the health gap.

Essilor Vision Foundation has as its goal “Better Life through Better Sight.” It has operated in many countries around the world for over a decade and in Australia since mid-2016.

The Foundation reaches out to the “forgotten people” – indigenous citizens, refugees and migrants, people with mental illness and school children.

Using the generous services of volunteer optometrists, optometry students, dispensers and practice staff it screens large groups of clients, refers on for comprehensive optometric examination and provides free prescription spectacles if required.

IDEAS Van CEO Lyndall De Marco said, “The collaboration is the perfect union of two like-minded organisations who want to make a difference in Indigenous eye health.

“While our ophthalmologists and optometrists identify and treat a range of ocular conditions and diseases it is a fact that many of our patients will simply require a basic pair of prescription spectacles to remedy poor vision – that’s where the Foundation’s support will be invaluable.”

Foundation CEO and former CEO of Optometry Queensland /NT, Greg Johnson said he “was over the moon with the announcement.

“Much of the Foundations’ work is in large scale screenings where considerable human resources are required.

“Working with the IDEAS Van means that we can still undertake our projects while adding value the Van’s diagnostic and referral works through the provision of free prescription spectacles for patients and by encouraging more eye health professionals to assist the Van as it moves across regional and remote Queensland.”