By Mikayla Harrison

Looking through a camera lens and seeing it's out of focus is disapointing for a photographer. Imagine if all you saw, everyday, to you, was out of focus. Below is information on eye diseases, how science has improved the lives of these ones and how you can also.

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Fred Hollows

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Church goers, Clarice and Joseph Hollows had their 2nd baby boy in 1929 on the 4th of the 9th. Frederick Cossom Hollows was one of four children in this respectable and non-judgmental family.
He proved to be a great child, participating Protestant Boys’ Brigade, church, played the trumpet, played XV Rugby and went on studying to become a minister. His outlook changed after he took a job at a mental hospital and went on to be interested in rock climbing chemistry and physiology. He ended up being in the top 100 in New Zealand for his science subjects. Otago offered him a place in medicine and he took a plane out to Dunedin the same day. “For the next few years he, studied hard in bursts, played up a bit and on the weekends, headed for the hills.”
Why did he pursue the want to be an eye doctor? “I studied medicine so I could help others – set a leg or whatever – and it’s given me a great deal of satisfaction”. After graduating, he assisted eye surgeons at Auckland and had a growing interest in pursuing that but at the same time had a growing interest in practising in Africa because of the need over there to remove cataracts. At his 2nd job he made a deal with the eye surgeon and was able to assist and take notes with all his eye cases. As he progressed into doing cataracts by himself he thought Ophthalmology was good work. He released after working in the biggest hospital in his country, that he needed a diploma. To do so, for a year he had to work as a general practitioner to pay for his move to the institute he wanted to study at. He experienced lots doing the process such as, managing with only one weekend off in five, working as the ship’s doctor and working as a radio doctor.
The 1960s was the year he learnt the most, intellectually specking, this was also around the time the electron microscope came into use. Professor Archie Cochrane proved to be one of the most important influences of Fred. Without him, Fred might not have collaborated on the glaucoma survey, the survey that gave him his academic reputation. Fred went on to survey others in the late 1970s which the “no survey without service” approach. In 65’ he became an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and went on to become the head of the ophthalmology department shortly after, still at the UNSW, in Sydney. He also oversaw teaching and set up a small eye unit around this time.

He saw two Gurindji elders in 1968, as patients, and before you knew it he flew to their Northern Territory camp with a few other doctors. Fred said, “It was like something out of the medical history books," he said, "eye diseases of a kind and degree that hadn't been seen in western society for generations. The neglect this implied the suffering and wasted quality of human life was appalling.”

After having the realisation that aboriginals weren’t free from Trachoma like the majority of Australia in 71’, The Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern was created. Similar projects were undertaken across Australia and still are running. Fred worked hard to help, saying “Until Aborigines share the same basic conditions of hygiene, sound diet, insect-proof housing, sanitation and clean water... Aborigines in rural parts of the country will continue to be afflicted with avoidable diseases such as trachoma,” and work to improve the situation until his death in 93’ he did.

In the aim to eliminate eye conditions in rural areas of Australia and to record the status of eye health in rural Australia, the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program (NTEHP) was run, across Australia from 1976 to 1978.

The list of what he did seems to be endless as he did successfully visit 465 communities and screen 100,000 which includes 62,000 Indigenous people. “In 1990, the title of Australian of the Year was awarded to Fred Hollows in recognition of his work in treating avoidable blindness in some of the world's poorest communities. When he died in 1993, he left behind a foundation that continues his work around the world today.” He is one famous Australian.


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