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World Sight Day 2020

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. This year, the theme for World Sight Day is: Hope In Sight.

1 billion people around the world have preventable vision impairment or one that has yet to be addressed. Reduced eyesight can be caused by several factors, including diseases like diabetes and trachoma, trauma to the eyes, or conditions such as refractive error, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma. 

The majority of people with vision impairment are over the age of 50 years; however, vision loss can affect people of all ages.

Below we hear from Tony, Louise and Kevin who share their stories and how care they received at The Eye and Ear played a big part in their eye health.



Accomplished sculptor Tony Powers was previously treated for a melanoma in his left eye, so when he had concerns with his right eye recently, he returned to The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

Tony is originally from Melbourne but has lived in East Gippsland for 22 years. Just over 18 years ago he visited his local Optometrist because he was experiencing blurred vision. Tony was seen by a specialist who was fortunately in the region that same day and referred him on to the Eye and Ear.

“Within a week of visiting my optometrist, I underwent surgery at the Eye and Ear to place a radioactive seed at the back of my eye to treat the melanoma.”

The internal radiotherapy successfully killed the cancer cells which meant Tony’s eye was saved but sadly, he did lose sight in the eye.

Tony is a toolmaker by trade but was always interested in art and spent more time on sculpting after relocating to East Gippsland.

“Following the loss of sight in my eye I had to adapt my techniques but am pleased I’ve been able to continue sculpting.”

When Tony was concerned about the condition of his right eye he arranged to come back to the hospital for his eye to be checked.

Read Tony’s story in full here:




Melbourne author and Eye and Ear patient Louise Wilson had gone past the Eye and Ear many times but had never been inside. A published author with several books under her belt, Louise regularly spends time researching historical biographies, and is used to exploring beyond the surface to find the real story.

“Many people still think appearance is everything. The Eye and Ear looks old fashioned on the outside, but it is an amazing place on the inside.”

Louise recently attended our Emergency Department after she unfortunately contracted an infection – orbital cellulitis – following a routine surgery (dacryocystorhinostomy or DCR, an operation on the tear ducts to help improve drainage of tears from the eye to the nose), at another hospital.

The infection left her with swollen, puffy and sore eyes and face, and also affected the muscles around her face so she couldn’t move her eye.

“I was really uncomfortable and I couldn’t see – which meant I couldn’t drive, or read either” she says.

Most of us highly value our sight, and as someone who writes for a living, Louise admits she was a bit concerned that the infection would affect her vision – and ability to read and write.

Louise was admitted to the Eye and Ear as an inpatient where she was treated for her infection. She says she doesn’t normally give feedback, but felt compelled to after spending three days at the hospital.

Read Louise’s story in full here



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have higher incidences of eye disease and wait longer to access surgery than other Australians. Around 1 in 9 Indigenous Australians aged over 40 have vision impairment or blindness, and one of the leading causes of vision loss for Indigenous Australians is cataracts. Kevin Palmer from Stawell knows this all too well. For Kevin, eye problems have been a recurring issue for many years. Building on the success of the Healthy Ears clinic which treats children with ear problems, the Eye and Ear and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) have partnered again to launch a clinic to treat Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients of all ages with eye problems in a culturally appropriate setting.

Read Kevin’s story in full here

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