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Almost 5000 Australians participate in the first National Eye Health Survey

The Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and Vision 2020 Australia have released the results of the much anticipated National Eye Health Survey (NEHS) on World Sight Day 2016. The NEHS provides national data on the prevalence and causes of vision loss in 4836 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.


Dr Mohamed Dirani performing an eye examination on a patient.

Dr Mohamed Dirani, lead investigator of the NEHS said Australia is leading the way globally in producing high-quality results on the prevalence and major causes of vision loss.

“We are now well placed to develop and implement a follow up study to evaluate the impact of current and future eye health interventions,” he said.

“The National Eye Health Survey has given us a detailed snapshot of the state of eye health in Australia. Of those with vision loss, at least 75% can be easily treated through spectacle correction or cataract surgery. It is important that we improve access to basic eye health services, particularly in regional and remote areas in Australia. Keep in mind that most vision loss caused by major eye conditions, such as diabetic eye disease can be avoided with timely eye examinations”.

The survey found that 13.60% of Indigenous Australians had vision impairment, being 3 times higher than that found in non-Indigenous Australians (4.57%). “We must continue our efforts to close the gap in Indigenous eye health,” said Dr Dirani.

Vision 2020 Australia CEO, Carla Northam, said the survey findings support the need for eye health and vision care to remain a priority in Australia.

“Importantly, the National Eye Health Survey draws a line in the sand, providing the first truly national picture of eye health in Australia. Its findings will assist in the shaping of eye health policy, delivery of services and will provide a benchmark for monitoring progress towards reaching the World Health Organization’s target of a 25 per cent reduction in the prevalence of avoidable blindness and vision impairment by 2019,” she said.

The National Eye Health Survey was funded by the Australian Government, with contributions from the Centre for Eye Research Australia, OPSM, Novartis, Zeiss, Brien Holden Vision Institute, Optometry Australia, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Click on the links below to download a copy of the NEHS summary and final reports:

To listen to the audio recording click the orange button