Goulburn Valley Medicare Local and the Vision Initiative have formed a partnership to spread the word about the importance of routine eye tests.ESTELLE GRIEPINK April 11, 2014 4:21am
Partnership: Goulburn Valley Medicare Local chief executive Phillip Bain and Vision Initiative manager Dee Tumino.
The two organisations will be engaging with primary health-care providers, including GPs, to highlight the link between eye health and other health issues.
Vision Initiative manager Dee Tumino said many people did not realise an eye test could identify conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
‘‘There is a misconception that eye tests are just for getting glasses, but they’re actually there to assess much more — an optometrist can also look at all sorts of other conditions,’’ Ms Tumino said. ‘‘A lot of people can be walking around with diabetes and not even know it.’’
Ms Tumino urged Greater Shepparton residents to book for an eye test, especially if they were in one of the four high-risk groups.
People aged more than 40, smokers and those with a family history of eye disease are encouraged to visit their optometrist every two years, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders every year.
‘‘With Medicare covering the cost of an eye examination and most optometrists bulk-billing, there really shouldn’t be a barrier to getting an eye test,’’ she said.
Ms Tumino said the partnership aimed to link Shepparton’s primary health-care professionals with eye specialists so they could work together to improve the region’s eye health.
‘‘Optometrists and ophthalmologists have been seen as the go-to point for eye health, but primary care providers play a really critical role — simply asking the question ‘when was the last time you had an eye examination’ can spark the discussion about eye health.’’
Goulburn Valley Medicare Local chief executive officer Phillip Bain said he hoped the partnership would lead the way for other areas.
‘‘We’re trying to develop a model that does have application across the country,’’ Mr Bain said. ‘‘We volunteered to be part of this and I must say that all of the GPs, practitioners and pharmacists have embraced it with enthusiasm.’’
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