Open Letter to the Minister of Health

36 signatures

To the Minister of Health

Kia ora Minister

 

Vision loss can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. Not only those experiencing vision loss, but those who love and care about them.

 

Right now, we don’t even know the scale of the problem.

 

We call on you to show leadership by making eye health count in the next parliamentary term.

 

People with vision loss are:

• far less likely to be employed[1]
• three times as likely to experience clinical depression[2]
• twice as likely to fall and four times as likely to suffer hip fractures[3]

 

Currently New Zealand has no formal data on the prevalence or causation of vision loss and no comprehensive eye health strategies, policies or frameworks to plan for and measure progress in eye health and vision care.

 

The first step in correcting this is to get truly representative and current New Zealand population-based data on the prevalence and causes of vision impairment.

 

Supporters of Eye Health Aotearoa call on the Government to fund the first ever National Eye Health Survey in New Zealand, to inform future planning and funding decisions.

 

We urge you to take a fresh look at eye health in Aotearoa New Zealand as the first step in closing the eye health and vision loss gap.

 

Nga mihi

 


[1] Disability, education and the labour market: A longitudinal portrait for New Zealand – AUT January 2016

[2] Rovner B, Ganguli M. Depression and disability associated with impaired vision: the MoVies Project. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1998;46:617-9.

[3] Klein BEK, Moss SE, Klein R et al. Associations of visual function with physical outcomes and limitations 5 years later in an older population. The Beaver Dam Eye Study. Ophthalmol 2003;110:644-650 Klein BEK, Klein R, Lee KE et al. Performance-based and self-assessed measures of visual function as related to history of falls, hip fractures and measured gait time. The Beaver Dam Eye Study. Ophthalmol 1998; 105:160-164


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