Tasmanians urged to stay focussed on eye health Sat 25 August 2012 Rebecca White Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Cost of Living All Tasmanians are being reminded about the importance of taking good care of their eyes ahead of a significant meeting of eye health experts in Tasmania this weekend. The Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business, Rebecca White, said that speakers from overseas and across the country had converged on Hobart to address the Tasmanian Lifestyle Congress 2012. "This Congress brings together delegates and exhibitors involved in optometry, ophthalmology and the eye care health professions. "It also provides us with a timely reminder that eyesight should not be taken for granted. Your eyes need to be checked regularly and cared for. "Blindness or vision impairment affects around 670 million people around the world. "In Australia, loss of vision affects more than 500,000 people but around 75 per cent is preventable or treatable. "Vision in Action is the theme of this year's Congress which aims to place increased focus on anterior eye conditions, low vision and contact lenses. "The Congress is particularly honoured to host Professor Robert Greer from the Berkeley School of Optometry at the University of California, where he heads up the Low Vision Clinic," Ms White said. Ms White said that promoting good eye health remained a priority for the Tasmanian Government but it was also important for every Tasmanian to remember that it was an individual responsibility to get their sight checked. "In 2011, we provided funding of $100,000 over two years to the Tasmanian Division of the Optometrists' Association of Australia to run a public awareness campaign. "The Association also ran a successful Eye Centre at Agfest in northern Tasmania this year, which saw optometrists volunteer their services to promote eye health and safety and conduct free vision screening. "It's these types of public awareness campaigns, promotional activities and events such as the Tasmanian Lifestyle Congress which will continue to raise the profile of eye health professionals and serve to reinforce the message that we all need to care for our eyes. "The message remains that Tasmanians need to get their eyes checked, especially if they are over 40 years of age," Ms White said. This year's Congress will also be addressed by experts presenting papers on issues such as corneal transplantation, collagen cross linking and corneo plastics through to laser cataract surgery.