Cataract waiting list in sights of vision care sector

Extended waiting lists for routine yet potentially eyesight-saving cataract surgery could be slashed under a plan proposed by the eye health and vision care sector in a submission to the 2021-22 Federal Budget.

The Vison 2020 Australia submission calls for expanded delivery of public cataract surgery, along with the development and roll out of innovative and sustainable service models and national protocols to support enhanced access to cataract surgery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

The submission also proposes:

  • Improving access to local eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by rolling out local case management and supporting community designed and led eye care models.
  • Tackling some of the highest rates of blindness in the work in Papua New Guinea through a targeted program of workforce, infrastructure, and outreach services.
  • Making it simpler, quicker and more affordable for older Australians who develop or live with permanent vision loss to get the technology and supports they need and establishing an innovative workforce support service for aged care workers who are caring for people with vision issues.

The full submission is available to view at

Quotes attributable to Vision 2020 Australia CEO Judith Abbott:

“Our modelling suggests that around 840,000 Australians are currently living with vision loss, and that by 2030 the figure could exceed 1 million people.

“We are proposing investment in a small number of high priority, high impact initiatives to prevent that occurring and ensure people living in both Australia and our nearest neighbour PNG have the gift of sight.

“Clearing the long-term backlog of Australians waiting for cataract surgery will transform the lives of many Australians while delivering cost savings to government.

“People living in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities wait around 57% longer for cataract surgery than other Australians, with some people waiting years for surgery.

“If older Australians who develop vision loss can get the support they need quickly and easily, they can be set up to live safely in the community and keep doing the things they love without relying on ongoing government services – that’s good for everybody.”


Media contact: Ben Jessup 0410 632 123 or