Date published: 
22 May 2018
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Turnbull Government will provide funding for the development of a national action plan to better support patients with macular disease, the leading cause of vision loss among older Australians.

During Macular Degeneration Awareness Week I am pleased to announce that the Macular Disease Foundation Australia will receive $150,000 for the development of a National Strategic Action Plan.

The action plan will provide a streamlined approach to the treatment and management of the disease across Australia.

Importantly, it will be a roadmap to deliver better outcomes for patients.

I also welcomed the release of a Macular Disease Foundation Australia report today, which shows Australia is a world-class leader in fighting macular disease.

The Journey to See: A Model for Success, highlights the ground-breaking work Australia has delivered over the last 10 years in the treatment and management of age-related macular disease, which is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia.

About one in seven Australians or 1.25 million people aged 50 years and over, show some evidence of macular degeneration. The disease also affects young people.

The Turnbull Government is committed to addressing vision loss and blindness in our communities.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidies several medications used in the treatment of aged-related macular disease. Since 2013 the Turnbull Government has spent $1.67 billion on medication for aged-related macular disease through the PBS.

Specific services in relation to the treatment of macular degeneration are also available through the Medicare. In 2016-17 alone the Government paid over $118 million in Medicare benefits for more than 400,000 eye injections for aged-related macular degeneration.

This funding for the action plan is in addition to the $1.28 million the Macular Disease Foundation Australia receives through the Health Peak and Advisory Bodies Fund to help reduce the incidence and impact of the disease in Australia.