What we’re doing about chronic eye conditions
Chronic eye conditions are very common in Australia. You may be born with an eye condition or develop one as you get older. Find out more about chronic eye conditions and what we are doing to help affected Australians.
What are chronic eye conditions?
Many Australians are living with vision impairment or blindness. Common eye health conditions include:
- uncorrected refractive error (this includes near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia)
- macular degeneration
- diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina from diabetes)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities suffer vision impairment and blindness at 3 times the rate of other Australians. Trachoma (an eye infection) affects Indigenous Australians in some areas.
It’s important to get regular eye tests. Around 90% of all blindness and vision impairment in Australia is preventable or treatable if caught early.
See healthdirect for more information about eye diseases.
What are we doing about chronic eye conditions?
We are addressing chronic eye conditions nationally, with several programs and initiatives.
Our National Strategic Action Plan for Macular Disease identifies the most effective interventions to reduce the burden of macular disease. Macular disease is the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in Australia. It affects people of all ages.
The National Diabetes Services Scheme helps people to manage their diabetes, which helps reduce cases of diabetic retinopathy. We contribute funding to KeepSight, a program that reminds people with diabetes to get their eyes checked.
See our eye health topic for details of other programs and initiatives, including:
- the National Eye Health Survey 2016
- trachoma surveillance
- Visiting Optometrists Scheme
- Rural Health Outreach Fund
We also support people with chronic eye conditions via the:
- Medicare Benefits Schedule, which helps pay for patient care
- Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which helps pay for medicines
- National Health and Medical Research Council, which funds research into eye conditions
See more chronic conditions resources.