Cost a barrier for low vision aids and technologies
Today marks the official release of the report, ‘Low Vision, quality of life and independence: A review of the evidence on aids and technologies’ by Macular Disease Foundation Australia produced in collaboration with The George Institute for Global Health.
The report highlights the evidence base supporting the benefits of aids and technologies for those with vision loss and blindness in order to connect and engage with the world, maintain independence and enhance quality of life.
However, despite these benefits, there are barriers to accessing low vision aids in this country particularly for those most in need – the 100,000 older Australians with vision loss and blindness. The major barrier is cost.
For over a decade, responsibility for a funded equipment program to ensure affordability of aids and technologies has been shuffled between state and federal governments, between numerous portfolios in health, ageing and disabilities, and finally falling between the gaps of aged care and disability reforms. Barriers to access also include highly fragmented services, inadequate referral pathways and inadequate co-management plans between eye care practitioners and low vision services, along with poor consumer information and knowledge regarding services.
Julie Heraghty, CEO of Macular Disease Foundation Australia, the national body representing people with macular disease said, “Low vision aids ranging from a simple magnifier or specialised lighting, through to adaptive technology, can transform the lives of people with sight loss, helping them to live fulfilling, independent lives. Currently, the vast majority of people in Australia with sight loss have great difficulty affording or accessing these aids. This needs to change.
Posted: 30 January 2017