June, 2012

Congratulations Leanne Geritty of Launceston on your winning prize of a 20 kilogram block of Cadbury chocolate. Leanne purchased the winning ticket in the Launceston Eye Institutes fundraiser with profits going towards the Tasmania Eye Institutes 'Research into the Prevention of Vision Loss'.

Directly focused on the needs of the Tasmanian people, research contributions significantly assist in advancing the future knowledge base and clinical treatment of ophthalmic disease. By supporting our fundraiser you are supporting us in our vision.

Northern Region Ophthalmologists Concerned at State Government Cutbacks in Health
11th November, 2011

The ophthalmologists serving the northern regional health area are extremely concerned at the proposed savage cut backs in elective surgery being directed upon the LGH by Michelle O'Byrne Minister of Health for the State Government. A meeting was held by the ophthalmologists last night to discuss the impact and how to manage cutbacks on ophthalmic surgery that already has a waiting period of over 2 years with over 800 patients currently waiting for eye surgery. With the imposed cutbacks it is expected that by the end of November there will be funding for about 15-20 ocular procedures (including emergencies) for the remainder of the financial year! With 2-3 emergencies each week it will only be a couple of months before someone is left permanently blinded by the State Government's cut backs. Any cost saving the Health Minister, Michelle O'Byrne and State Government may perceive through elective surgery cutbacks will end up having a far greater financial impact on our health system let alone the impact on patients and the community.

On health economic grounds cataract surgery is one of the most cost-effective procedures by far of any in medicine. Research performed by Access Economics in conjunction with the Centre for Eye Research Australia, has already confirmed the economic viability of Cataract Surgery. They said that in Australia, an intervention is considered cost effective if it costs less that $112,000.00 per quality adjusted life year, or QALY (an economic measure of a year of good health). Cataract surgery costs less than $3000.00 per QALY, making it one of the most cost effective interventions in medicine we have. In 2004 loss of well being in Australia from visual impairment was estimated as over 40,000 disability adjusted life years (DALY's). Each disability life year carried a value of $162,561.00. Indirect costs therefore exceed 3.2 billion for untreated visual impairment. Any measure that reduces access to cataract surgery will invariably have a cost burden to the community and health system that far exceeds any perceived savings. In addition there are numerous well researched but less obvious impacts that arise as a direct consequence of poor vision (e.g. due to untreated cataract through prolonged waiting lists). These also bring a significant cost to our community and include:-

  • 2 x increased risk of falls (as a result of poor vision),
  • 8 x increased risk of hip fractures (as a result of poor vision),
  • 3 x increased risk of confusion and depression (as a result of poor vision),
  • 2 x increased risk of loss of independence and need for nursing home care (as a result of poor vision).
  • Loss of enjoyment of personal activities (driving, reading and hobbies)

To take one patient's case seen this week by one of the ophthalmologists. She has currently been on the waiting list for over one year for cataract surgery, she has reached the stage where she feels like ending her life. Her father did end his life when he went blind (from cataract). These decisions have real personal impact and we call on the Health Minister, Michelle O'Byrne, to use some common sense and perform her duty on behalf of the State Government in delivering essential health care to the Tasmanian community.

Related Articles
Patient kept in dark over cataract operation - The Examiner, 15th November 2011
How the LGH loses in cuts - The Examiner, 11th November 2011

NB: The Examiner has now removed the above articles from their website.

Run For A Wish
October, 2011
The Launceston Eye Institute is proud to be the major sponsor of the inaugural 2011 Run For A Wish fun run/walk taking place in Launceston at Aurora Stadium on Saturday the 22nd of October! Proceeds raised will go to Make-A-Wish® Australia.

Click here to view the Run For A Wish website.


Thistle Street Medical Centre
Level 1, 36 Thistle Street West
South Launceston, TAS 7249

4 Eastland Drive
Ulverstone, TAS 7310

phone 03 6344 1377
fax 03 6344 1577

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