According to the World Report on Vision released in October 2019, globally more than 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment. Of those at least 1 billion people have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be treated.
In Australia, the 2016 National Eye Health Survey showed that over 453,000 Australians were living with low vision or blindness in 2016.
The prevalence of vision loss is predicted to increase with the estimated number of Australians aged over 50 living with vision loss is expected to nearly double from around 532,000 people in 2016 to more than one million people in 2050.
In Australia, most blindness and vision loss is caused by five common eye conditions (listed alphabetically):
- age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- diabetic retinopathy
- uncorrected or under corrected refractive error.
Eye health is often taken for granted as people believe they can see well and therefore must have healthy eyes. However, many eye problems, including the above listed conditions, are often asymptomatic in their early stages with vision loss progressing before a person notices their vision impairment, often too late to save the sight already lost.
The good news is that in Australia, most blindness and vision loss is preventable or treatable if conditions are detected early.
Regular eye tests are the best way to detect any developing problems early and ensure the best chance for treatment.
As a health or allied health professional, you play a vital role in reminding people about the importance of regular eye tests to prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss.
When talking to your patients/clients on a day-to-day basis, you can identify people who may be at risk of developing an eye condition, encourage them to have regular eye tests, provide eye health information to them, carry out initial assessment of an eye problem and refer to the appropriate eye health professional as necessary.
To assist you with incorporating information on eye health in your day-to-day work, we have gathered in this section a range of resources we have developed with our partners.