Pacific eye health research programme launches

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, in collaboration with the University of Auckland, aims to support the development of locally driven research through a new and ambitious research programme named the ‘State of Eye Health in the Pacific’.

The programme aims to provide Pacific governments with the evidence need to build effective and sustainable eye healthcare policy. This research will also be used to secure funding for eye health and monitor the state of eye health in the Pacific.

Central to these efforts are the ophthalmic nurses who will lead research activities in their respective countries.

Dr Audrey Aumua, The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, says, “Eye health is one area of public health that has remained under-resourced in the Pacific region. However, eye health leaders recognise that without increased focus on eye health now, and the development of policies and plans, [Pacific Island countries] will face deepening socio-economic crises resulting from growing blindness and vision impairment.­­”

Principal investigator, Associate Professor Jacqueline Ramke from the University of Auckland School of Optometry and Vision Science, says generating the evidence required for this ambitious programme is an exciting project.

“Effective treatments exist for the most common causes of vision loss, so we see this programme as a massive opportunity to create sustainable solutions to bridge the gap between services that we know work, and the people who need them,” says Ramke.