It is estimated there are over 575,000 people who are blind or vision impaired currently living in Australia, with more than 70 per cent over the age of 65 and over 66,000 people who are blind. However, despite the fact that blindness and vision impairment affects a significant proportion of Australia’s population, no comprehensive data exists on the provision of blindness and low vision services at a national level.
Given the significant reforms in disability and aged care in both policy and service delivery now underway across the country, reliable data on the provision of blindness and low vision services is paramount, to ensure people who are blind or who have low vision are supported to remain independent and empowered to participate in their community.
Vision 2020 Australia, National Disability Services (NDS) and the Australian Blindness Forum (ABF) undertook an online survey of their collective members (service providers, consumer groups and research bodies), in order to obtain a national perspective on the blindness, low vision and rehabilitation sector.
The report highlights issues relating to current capacity in anticipation of rising demand for blindness, low vision and rehabilitation services.