Each year, Vision 2020 Australia uses World Sight Day to talk about the importance of eye health and vision care.
World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness, established by the World Health Organisation in 2000, to focus attention on blindness and vision impairment.
This year World Sight Day is on Thursday, October 12 and the international theme is Make Vision Count.
In 2016, more than 453,000 Australians were living with vision impairment or blindness.
It is estimated that almost 85 per cent of all vision impairment will be among those aged 50 years and over and that the growing diabetes epidemic is also expected to dramatically impact Australian eye health.
Importantly, approximately 90 per cent of blindness or vision impairment is preventable or treatable.
Approximately 90 per cent of blindness or vision impairment is preventable or treatable.
Just five conditions are responsible for over 80 per cent of vision impairment in Australia: uncorrected refractive error, cataract, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
The prevalence of blindness and vision impairment in indigenous Australians is three times that of non-indigenous Australians.
The annual economic cost of vision loss in Australia is estimated to be over $16 billion but the personal and social cost is even greater.
Making eye health a priority has significant economic and social benefits for Australia and our region.
Ensuring the prevention, early detection and timely intervention of eye health conditions will reduce the impact of avoidable blindness and vision loss, particularly for at-risk individuals and communities.
Further, equitable access to effective and appropriate supports for people who are blind or vision imparied increases social and economic participation, providing innumerable benefits, such as improved education and employment outcomes.
Overall, making eye health and vision care a priority has signficant impact on the wellbeing of individuals, through improved social and economic participation and general health and wellbeing.
To make vision count on World Sight Day, look to your family and the vulnerable – the young, the elderly, those with diabetes – and plan for an eye examination.
For more information visit www.worldsightday.org.au.