‘Many people don’t know this, but Indigenous Australian children are born with much better eyesight than non-Indigenous children.
‘Yet, at the population level, Indigenous people at the age of 40 have rates of vision loss three times that of non-Indigenous Australians. Rates of blindness are six times higher among Indigenous adults.
‘The prevalence of vision problems in Indigenous people is a result of cataracts, diabetic eye disease and a disease non-Indigenous children don’t get – trachoma. In fact, trachoma disappeared from mainstream Australia more than 100 years ago with improved hygiene facilities, water infrastructure and living conditions.
‘Yet, in some areas, 4% of Indigenous children aged from five to nine years old have an active trachoma infection. In the Northern Territory, that rate is 5%, which is considered an endemic level.’