The Ministry of Health commissioned Litmus Ltd to undertake a stocktake and needs analysis of low vision services in New Zealand conducted in mid-2014. The Ministry has accepted the report, and while the report presents the views of the authors, it provides useful information and recommendations to focus future efforts.
The report is based on interviews which were conducted with 10 organisations involved in and/or able to give expert commentary on low vision, and the specialised services provided to people with low vision. An online survey of stakeholders was also conducted to measure and collate stakeholders’ perceptions of the current state of low vision service provision within New Zealand. A literature review was also undertaken to determine available information on the prevalence of people with low vision in New Zealand and to identify international good practice of low vision services.
The report identified that there is no standard or comprehensive package of services for New Zealanders with low vision and that services vary, depending on the person’s age and where they live. The report also identified that the current shortage of adult low vision services will need to be addressed to meet the expected increase in demand due to New Zealand’s ageing population.
As recommended in this report, the Ministry plans to establish a Low Vision Reference Group to develop a national strategic direction for low vision services.