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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 3697

Mr THISTLETHWAITE (Kingsford Smith) (13:47): Next week marks the beginning of Myopia Awareness Week. Myopia, or short-sightedness, affects over a third of Australians. A recent study of teenagers found a doubling in cases of myopia over the last decade. It's an alarming increase, and I urge parents to as early as possible have their children's eyes checked by an optometrist. It's critical for younger children and their development. Approximately 80 per cent of what a child learns is through their visual system, so correct eye health is very important.

Recently I was pleased to launch at the Brien Holden Vision Institute at the University of New South Wales a new children's book called The Flying Optometrist. It's a book by Pagewood local Joanne Anderton. It's an early introduction for kids aged four-plus to the importance of eye health. It tells of the real-world adventures and dedicated community service of her dad, Dr Phil Anderton, who has a rare combination of skills: optometry and aviation. He used to travel around rural and regional New South Wales in his little red plane he built himself, checking out the eyes of local kids in communities and improving eye health in those communities. His work helped prevent myopia, making sure more young Australians have healthy eyes now and a clear vision for their future. I thank the Brien Holden Vision Institute at the University of New South Wales for their many years of dedicated service towards eye health.