Workforce & outreach programs

The measures and the data

The section includes the measures and data on the eye health workforce and outreach programs including number and rates of optometrists, ophthalmologists and allied ophthalmic personnel; and occasions of service provided under the eye health outreach programs—VOS, RHOF, and MOICDP.

Measures Data source Latest data Data included
4.1 Number and rate of optometrists NHWD 2011–2015 Time trend, region, state, PHN
4.2 Number and rate of ophthalmologists NHWD 2012–2015 Time trend, region, state, PHN
4.3 Number and rate of allied ophthalmic personnel Census,other 2011 Profession, region, state
4.4.1 Occasions of service–VOS (Visiting Optometrists Scheme) DoH 2016–17 Time trend, region, Indigenous status, state, PHN
4.4.2 Occasions of service–RHOF (Rural Health Outreach Fund) DoH 2016–17 Time trend, region, state, PHN
4.4.3 Occasions of service–MOICDP (Medical Outreach Indigenous Chronic Disease Program) DoH 2016–17 Time trend, state


  1. NHWD—National Health Workforce Dataset; DoH—Department of Health administrative data
  2. For more details about the measures and the data see Technical notes and data sources (295KB PDF).
  3. Data tables: Workforce & outreach programs (521KB XLS)

Key points

  • In 2015, there were around 4,560 optometrists registered in Australia (17.9 FTE per 100,000).
  • Numbers and rates of optometrists were highest in Major cities and very low in Remote and Very remote areas.
  • The number of occasions of service provided to Indigenous patients under the Visiting Optometrist Scheme (VOS) more than tripled between 2009–10 and 2016–17 rising from 6,975 to 24,511.
  • In 2016-17 the number of occasions of service under VOS provided to Indigenous patients exceeded those provided to non-Indigenous patients.