More than 200,000 Victorians aged over 40 will be vision impaired, and 26,400 will be blind by the year 2020 unless action is taken to halt the rise.
The Vision Initiative is an integrated health promotion program funded by the Victorian Government and managed by Vision 2020 Australia. It aims to prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss and address the impact of vision loss in the Victorian community.
The Vision Initiative is a core element of Victoria’s disease prevention system and is the Victorian Government’s public health response to the National Framework for Action to Promote Eye Health and Prevent Avoidable Blindness and Vision Loss.
In 2012-15, the Vision Initiative successfully tested a novel three-tiered approach to reduce avoidable blindness and vision loss in four local government areas (LGAs) where populations were considered at increased risk of eye disease. This three-tiered approach was delivered via pilot projects in the four LGAs of Darebin, Greater Geelong, Greater Shepparton and Latrobe.
Evaluation results indicated population-level change with health providers integrating eye health into their practices and community becoming more proactive about their eye health.
This success story provides clear direction on the implementation of Vision Initiative activity in an additional eight LGAs over the next four years following a $3.6 million commitment from the Victorian State Government.
The first four of the eight additional LGAs include Brimbank, Greater Dandenong, Swan Hill and Campaspe, which had high proportions of people who had never had an eye examination and were less likely to have regular eye tests, placing their sight at increased risk.
Local media campaigns will complement community and health provider activity to raise awareness of the importance of having regular eye tests to reduce avoidable blindness and vision loss.
For more information visit the Vision Initiative website.