darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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October 1, 2012

Gippslanders are being asked when they last had an eyesight test ahead of World Sight Day next month.

The question has come from The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester who accepted an offer from Vision 2020 Australia to become a 2012 World Sight Day Champion.

World Sight Day, which will be held on Thursday, October 11, was established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the year 2000 and is the main advocacy event to raise awareness in the global effort to prevent avoidable blindness.

Vision 2020 Australia is undertaking a number of exciting activities this year to celebrate World Sight Day and raise awareness about avoidable blindness with the theme of ‘prevention’.

Mr Chester said over half a million Australians aged over 40 are living with some form of vision loss, including 66,000 who are blind.

“Your eyesight is something that you should never take for granted,” Mr Chester said.

“People with vision loss are twice as likely to use health services, twice as likely to have a fall as well as having a rate of depression three times that of someone without vision impairment.

“It is estimated that in Australia, 75 per cent of blindness and vision loss is preventable or treatable and the first step to preventing or treating poor eyesight is to have it tested by a registered professional.”

Mr Chester said it was important to have regular eyesight tests with projections that vision impairment will affect 800,000 by the year 2020.

“You need to always be proactive when it comes to your health and a simple eye test could save your sight,” Mr Chester said.

“There are quality optometrist services spread throughout Gippsland communities and I’d encourage local residents to book an appointment and have their sight tested.”

If you are an Australian resident who has a current standard Medicare card and haven’t had an eye test in the last two years you may be able to arrange bulk billing with a local optometrist to receive a free eye test.

Anyone wishing to find out more about World Sight Day should log on to the official website at www.worldsightday.org.au

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