17 Mar 2014

Visually impaired missing out on care

3:51 pm on 17 March 2014

A group representing tens of thousands of people with incurable eye disorders says they are not being fully catered to by the health system.

The Visual Impairment Charitable Trust represents about 93,000 people who suffer from eye disorders that can't be cured.

There are only two specialist clinics for such patients, one in Auckland and the other in Christchurch - there used to be ten.

A founder of the Visual Impairment Charitable Trust, author Lynley Hood, says she found when her own sight worsened that there was a significant lack of services.

She says there is an urgent need for comprehensive rehabilitation and access to magnifiers and education about such matters as lighting and day-to-day living.

Trustee and opthalmologist Gordon Sanderson says DHBs are spending funds on things such as surgery rather than rehabilitation.

Mr Sanderson says the group has put its concerns to the health select committee and they are being looked at.

About 12 percent of the 93,000 people who suffer from incurable eye disorders are eligible for help from the blind foundation.