Sight is our most dominant and important sense. The human eye is like a camera that collects information and allows us to connect with our surroundings. The slightest reduction in vision can significantly impact quality of life. People with vision impairment are more likely to experience restricted independence and mobility, and an increased risk of falls, injuries, poor mental health, and social isolation.
This NAIDOC week in July 2021, we highlight the importance of eye health and the overall impact it has on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Fred Hollows Foundation
Professor Fred Hollows was an internationally acclaimed eye surgeon who restored sight to thousands of people around the world.
In the late 1960s, Fred visited a remote community in the Northern Territory to examine the eye health of indigenous people. Fred was shocked at finding a prevalence of eye conditions he didn’t think existed in modern-day Australia, and the unacceptable living conditions experienced by Aboriginal people. So, Fred decided to act, which shaped his career. Today, his legacy and desire for social justice lives on through The Fred Hollows Foundation.
“We cannot go on as a modern country living with this scandalous situation of Aboriginal living conditions in Central Australia” – Fred Hollows
Close The Gap Campaign
Did you know, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a life expectancy that is 10 years less than other Australians? Did you know, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are three times more likely than other Australians to go blind, and 12 times more likely to have a blinding cataract?
The Close the Gap campaign aims to close the health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-indigenous Australians, within a generation.
The theme for NAIDOC week 2021 is Heal Country! This calls for stronger measures to protect and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. However, to properly heal country, many of the outstanding injustices which impact the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need to be resolved.
Together, The Fred Hollows Foundation and Simply Helping aim to close the gap in eye health and improve the equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.