This report presents data for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians for a range of eye health measures across prevalence, diagnosis and screening, treatment services and workforce and outreach programs. Data are presented over time, by age and sex, by state and territory, remoteness areas and lower level geographies.


  • Over 1 in 10 Indigenous Australians aged over 40 (10.4%) suffer from vision impairment or blindness.
  • Older Indigenous Australians are almost 3x as likely to suffer from vision impairment or blindness as older non-Indigenous Australians.

Diagnosis and screening

  • Indigenous Australians who had an eye examination in the preceding 12 months increased from 13% in 2007–08 to 16% in 2017–18.
  • Less than half of Indigenous people tested for diabetes had had an eye examination in the preceding 12 months.


  • Indigenous hospitalisations for cataract surgery rose by over 40% in the last 10 years.
  • Median waiting times for cataract surgery in 2016–17 were longer for Indigenous Australians (141 days) than non-Indigenous Australians (89 days).

Workforce and outreach

  • Numbers and rates of employed optometrists were highest in Major cities and lowest in Remote and Very remote areas.
  • Occasions of service provided to Indigenous patients under the Visiting Optometrists Scheme more than quadrupled between 2009–10 and 2017–18.