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Ed Sheeran

Eye health data gap leaves planners blind
Photo: Pixabay.

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An expert in eye health says a lack of data makes it hard to plan equitable services for Māori and Pacific populations.

Associate Professor Jacqueline Ramke from the University of Auckland’s School of Optometry and Vision Science, was one of 73 experts from 25 countries who contributed to a report on Global Eye Health by the international medical journal The Lancet.

She says New Zealand is among the minority of countries which don’t have a national survey to collect data on eye health.

Dr Ramke says it can only make estimates based on other countries, such as Australia where a recent national survey showed Indigenous Australians have far worse access to eye care than non-Indigenous Australians – and the same could apply to Māori and Pasifika.

The Lancet report says almost everyone will experience impaired vision or an eye condition during their lifetime, but over 90 per cent of vision loss could be prevented or treated with existing, highly cost-effective interventions.

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