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SYDNEY, June 30, 2015:

Hundreds of Australian patients in remote communities have been screened via a satellite network helping to save their eyesight.

Australia’s leading scientific body the CSIRO have developed a technology that captures images of a patients retina, uploading the images into a cloud based system via satellite link which can then be assessed by metropolitan-based eye specialists.

CSIRO trail team leader Prof Yogi Kanagasingam told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Tuesday that Australia’s remote indigenous population, which the technology is directed at, are nearly four times more likely to develop irreversible blindness.

“In almost all cases, this can be avoided by having regular eye checks, however those in remote communities simply don’t have access to these services,” Kanagasingam said.

“If we can pick up early changes and provide the appropriate intervention, we can actually prevent blindness.”

The trial study of the new technology is part of an Australian government programme designed to look at how communication technology can improve delivery of health care in remote locations.

A total of 900 patients from Australia’s Torres Strait Islands and southern Western Australia have been screened.

The trial of the new technology identified 68 patients who were at significant risk of going blind.

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