The eye health and vision care sector has called on all political parties to make blindness and vision impairment a national health priority, setting the standard of commitments required to tackle the 90% that is preventable.
“90 percent of blindness and vision loss in Australia is preventable or treatable if detected early enough,” said Patricia Sparrow, Vision 2020 Australia CEO.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities disproportionately experience blindness and vision loss at three times the rate of other Australians. This is not acceptable in 2022 and must be addressed by the next government.
“The good news is that conditions like cataract and diabetic eye diseases which can cause permanent vision loss can easily be prevented through early detection and affordable and accessible treatment.”
This upcoming federal election, Vision 2020 Australia is calling on the Federal Government to:
- Provide an additional $65 million to meet the Australian Government commitment to ending avoidable blindness in Indigenous communities by 2025, through full implementation of the Strong Eyes, Strong Communities recommendations.
- Provide an additional $14 million per annum for disability inclusion in Australia’s aid program
- Introduce packages for children with vision loss entering the NDIS, similar to those which already exist for children with hearing loss.
- Establish a dedicated vision mission within the Medical Research Future Fund of $150 million over 10 years.
- Fund ophthalmology staff specialist positions in the public system and develop new and innovative eye health workforce strategies that improve access to cataract surgery and intravitreal injections in regional, rural and remote Australia.
- Adopt a National Framework for children’s vision screening to ensure all children have their eyes screened prior to starting school.
“Along with social benefits, addressing the escalating vision health crisis has clear economic benefits.
“For example, investment in reducing cataract surgery waiting times could save the government up to $10M a year in health system costs. Eliminating unnecessary vision loss for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People will return $2.50 for every dollar spent.
“The advantages of investing in eye health are enormous and will ensure that cost-effective treatment and support is accessible to every Australian.”
Media contact: Dishi Gahlowt, 0434 159 833 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Vision 2020 Australia:
Vision 2020 Australia is the national peak body for the eye health and vision care sector, representing 50 member organisations involved in local and global eye health. Vision 2020 Australia works in partnership with members and governments to eliminate avoidable blindness and achieve the full participation of people who are blind or vision impaired in the community.