The National Eye Health Awareness Campaign is a key component of the Australian Government's National Eye Health Initiative and it's commitment to promote eye health and prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss.
National Eye Health InitiativeThe National Eye Health Initiative was developed in response to the 56th World Health Assembly resolution on the elimination of avoidable blindness. It recognises the fact that 45 million people in the world today are blind and a further 135 million are vision impaired.
In it's first years, the National Eye Health Initiative has concentrated on a number of formative research and other projects including:
- an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare review of eye health data sources, and provide four additional reports, each providing a statistical snapshot of elements of eye health in Australia. Three have been released titled
- Eye Health in Australia - A Hospital Perspective
- Eye Health among Australian children
- Eye Injuries.
- a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) review of the scientific evidence regarding the risk and causative factors for eye disease and injury;
- a grants program to identify, trial and evaluate strategies to overcome inefficiencies and improve the delivery, access, quality and safety of eye health care;
Information on these grants can be found at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ageing-eyehealth-overview.htm
- funding for Vision 2020 to support its peak organisation role;
- development of glaucoma guidelines by the NHMRC;
- a literature review undertaken by the NHMRC looking at risk factors for eye disease and injury; and
- a project between Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heath and the Office for an Ageing Australia for the National Indigenous Eye Health Survey conducted by the Eye Foundation.
Target AudienceIn line with the National Eye Health Framework, activities focus on target audiences at greater risk of eye disease and injury. These include:
- people aged over 40 years
- people with diabetes
- people with a family history of eye disease and
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Complementary target audiences include optometrists, ophthalmologists, GPs, nurses and pharmacists.
In Australia the main causes of blindness and vision loss are uncorrected or under-corrected refractive error and the eye diseases:
- age-related macular degeneration
- diabetic retinopathy.
It is important that people over 40 years of age, people with diabetes, people with a family history of eye disease or problems and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people all have their eyes tested. Many eye problems are treatable and much vision loss can be prevented if it is diagnosed early.
Prevalence of Eye Disease in AustraliaAn estimated 51% of the Australian population has at least one eye problem. The most commonly reported problems were refractive error, such as long-sightedness, short sightedness, presbyopia and astigmatism. The prevalence of eye problems increases with age to 96% by the age of 75 and over. Eye problems are more common in females (55%) than males (47%), 1 see www.aihw.gov.au for more information.
Page currency, Latest update: 08 April, 2009