Overview

There are many aspects of the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians where significant improvements are continuing or emerging. But significant gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remain. This disadvantage, or the 'gap' between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, starts from birth and continues throughout life.

Latest findings

In 2014–15 more Indigenous Australians received an eye examination than in the previous twelve months 5% decrease in the age-standardised rate of total burden in the Indigenous population between 2003 and 2011 1 in 9 Indigenous Australians over the age of 40 suffer from vision impairment or blindness Mental & substance use disorders, such as anxiety, depression and alcohol use disorders, caused 19% of the burden Indigenous Australians experienced burden 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians 3 highest ranked disease were coronary heart disease, suicide & self-inflicted injuries and anxiety disorders Tobacco use accounted for 23% of the gap in burden between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians Leading causes of vision impairment were refractive error (63%), cataract (20%) and diabetic retinopathy (5.5%) The Indigenous hospitalisation rate for cataract surgery rose by over 40% in the last 10 years Reducing exposure to modifiable risk factors would prevent 37% of the burden of disease in Indigenous Australians The prevalence of active trachoma among 5–9 year olds in at risk communities fell from 14% in 2009 to 4.6% in 2015 3 times as many older Indigenous Australians suffer vision impairment or blindness as non-Indigenous Australians 19% of the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was due to cardiovascular diseases and 14% to injuries Chronic diseases were responsible for 70% of the total health gap in 2011 Median waiting times for cataract surgery were longer for Indigenous than non-Indigenous Australians Numbers and rates of employed optometrists were highest in Major cities and low in Remote and Very remote areas

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