In Australia, 90% of blindness and vision loss is preventable or treatable if detected early enough. Despite this, many Australians continue to experience avoidable vision loss due to conditions such as cataract and diabetes eye disease, that could easily be prevented through early detection and cost-effective treatment.
Recent estimates indicate that by 2050, 1 in 2 Australian’s will require eye care services.
Currently there are 453,000 Australian’s who are blind or vision impaired. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionally impacted, experiencing blindness and vision loss at three times the rate of other Australians, accounting for 11% of the health gap
This has significant social and economic costs, with recent data indicating vision loss costs the Australian economy $27.6 billion annually or $46,950 per person with vision loss aged over 40.
2022 Federal Election Campaign
This federal election the eye health and vision care sector is calling on the Australian 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.
- Invest $26.4 million over 4 years to tackle the blindness crisis in Papua New Guinea.
- Provide an additional $14 million per annum for disability inclusion in Australia’s aid program to ensure people living with disability are not left behind.
- Invest $5.04 million over 4 years to trial a just-in-time online or phone coaching service and develop online resources for disability and aged care workers and assessors.
- Fund a national, harmonised scheme to provide Assistive Technology to older Australians with disabilities including vision loss.
- Introduce packages for children with vision loss entering the NDIS, similar to those which already exist for children with hearing loss.
- Amend the Broadcasting Services Act to legally require the provision of Audio Description on free-to-air TV.
- 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.
- Implement the Expanded Core Curriculum nationally for students who are blind or have low vision and require universities to comply with accessible information and communications technology (ICT) procurement standards.