Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Eye health. Cat. no. PHE 260. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 17 January 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/eye-health/eye-health
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Eye health. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/eye-health/eye-health
Eye health. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 30 August 2019, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/eye-health/eye-health
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Eye health [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019 [cited 2021 Jan. 17]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/eye-health/eye-health
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019, Eye health, viewed 17 January 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/eye-health/eye-health
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Visual impairment is the partial or full loss of sight in one or both eyes. Visual impairment may be the result of disease or injury, may progress over time, and may be permanent or corrected with visual aids (such as glasses) or with surgery.
Over 13 Million Australians (55%) had one or more long-term vision disorders in 2017–18
410,800 Australians (1.7% of the population) had cataract and 243,600 (1.0%) had macular degeneration in 2017–18
In 2017–18, long-term vision disorders affected 93% of people aged 55 and over
Females experienced a higher prevalence of long-term vision disorders (59%) than males (51%) in 2017–18
Over 13 million Australians (55% of the total population) have one or more long-term eye conditions, based on self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017–18 National Health Survey (NHS). This includes:
Long-term eye conditions are closely associated with increasing age. In 2017–18, long‑term eye conditions affected 93% of people aged 55 and over, compared with only 12% among people aged 0–14 (Figure 1). Females experience a higher prevalence of long-term eye conditions than males (59% and 51%, respectively) . For eye health definitions see the Eye health glossary.
Source: ABS 2018  (Data table).
According to the 2017–18 NHS , there has been a slight increase in the prevalence of both long-sightedness (from 25% to 28%) and short-sightedness (from 22% to 25%) since 2007–08 (Figure 2), after adjusting for age.
Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian population.
Source: AIHW analysis of ABS 2010, ABS 2013, ABS 2016, ABS 2019 [2–5] (Data table).
According to the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS), an estimated 18,300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 40 and over experienced vision impairment and blindness in 2016. The leading causes of vision impairment were uncorrected refractive error (63%), cataract (20%) and diabetic retinopathy (5.4%). Cataract was also the leading cause of blindness, accounting for 40% of blindness among Indigenous Australians .
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of vision impairment and blindness than other Australians (Figure 3). In 2016, both vision impairment and blindness were three times higher in Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians. Of the vision impairment and blindness among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, around 90% is preventable and treatable .
There are also some differences in the risk factors contributing to vision impairment. Older age and not undergoing eye examination were common risks. In addition, risk factors for vision impairment among Indigenous Australians included remoteness, sex, and diabetes in combination with never having had an eye examination .
Source: AIHW 2018  (see source Table 1.1.1b).
Centre for Eye Research Australia & Vision 2020 Australia 2016. The National Eye Health Survey 2016: Full report of the first national survey to determine the prevalence and major causes of vision impairment and blindness in Australia
Foreman J, Xie J, Keel S, Wijngaarden P, Sandhu SS, Ang GS et al. 2017. The prevalence and causes of vision loss in indigenous and non-indigenous Australians: The National Eye Health Survey. American academy of ophthalmology 124(12):1743–1752.
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