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Indigenous Australians suffering with poor eye health   |   30.09.2009

A report in Australia has found that indigenous people are more likely to be blind than non-indigenous Australians.

It is the first survey done on indigenous eye health on the island in 30 years and found that 1.9 per cent of the population was blind, six times higher than other adults.

Nearly 95 per cent of the blindness was found to be preventable.

Warren Snowdon, minister for indigenous health in Australia, said: "It is unacceptable that indigenous people continue to suffer treatable vision loss at such rates.

"As we work with indigenous Australians to close the gap in education and employment, we must also address this terrible and preventable health burden."

Blinding cataracts is a major cause of sight loss in Australia, and indigenous residents were found to be 12 times more likely to suffer from the problem than the rest of the populations.

By Louise Cole

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