A new Community Eye Care Centre has opened in Western Sydney, marking World Glaucoma Week.
Dr. Andrew White, RANZCO Fellow and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Westmead Hospital said the centre is cause for celebration. “It’s the first time in Western Sydney that the right people will be seen by the right health professional, that is, the severity and complexity of the eye condition will be matched to the expertise of the provider. This will ensure the best utilisation of resources and that people don’t slip through the cracks,” said Dr. White who has lobbied to have the centre opened.
The new clinic, based at West Point Shopping Town in Blacktown, will screen and assess for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy then refer on to a local optometrist or to Westmead Eye Clinic depending on the severity of the condition. All patients seen in the clinic will have the benefit of oversight from Westmead ophthalmologists and a multidisciplinary team.
“Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in blindness. It is a significant issue in our community because it’s asymptomatic and 50 per cent don’t know they have it. Added to this, we currently can’t treat the patients we do have. Patients are having to wait so long, they might have advanced stage glaucoma before we see them.
“What we are seeing is a tsunami of patients, the numbers of patients needing eye treatment is growing and is expected to grow by 150 per cent in Western Sydney. This means we need to do things differently. By introducing a new model of care, we can become more efficient and hopefully prevent unnecessary and irreversible vision loss, which is life changing,” said Dr. White.
Dr. White thanked the stakeholders involved in establishing the community eye clinic, in particular Western Sydney Local Health District, Western Sydney Diabetes Initiative, NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation, Glaucoma Australia, Diabetes NSW, Optometry Australia and RANZCO NSW.