Eye Health in Australia

Our eyesight is such a critical sensory function, yet we often prioritise other areas of our body when it comes to ensuring our physical health and safety. For example:

  • putting on sunscreen for our skin
  • wearing earplugs when operating machinery
  • wearing a helmet when riding a bike

Recent statistics on eye injuries and preventable eye disease would suggest we’re not doing enough to protect our vision in hazardous or damaging situations.

World Sight Day (12 October) is held on the second Thursday of October.  It is helping to tackle this issue by drawing global attention to vision impairment and blindness.

An important issue in Australia and around the world, vision impairment is largely preventable. This is why awareness campaigns like World Sight Day are so critical.

Want to protect your sight? Check out these top facts about the state of Australia’s eye health, and then brush up on some eye health tips available on our blog.

Fact 1: Globally, 80% of vision impairment or blindness is preventable, but in Australia it’s 90%

According to Vision 2020 Australia, around 253 million people globally are blind or vision impaired. The rate has decreased from 4.58% of the population in 1990 to 3.38% in 2015. However, vision loss is still an issue affecting millions.

Shockingly, the majority of instances of vision impairment are preventable, with the Australian rate surpassing the global average. What does this mean for us? For those who have healthy vision it means there’s a good chance that by taking certain safety measures and getting regular eye checks, you can avoid damaging or losing your sight.

Fact 2: Cataracts account for 14% of eye conditions in Australia

This clouding of the lens of the eye occurs in almost one in every seven people.  It is one of the most common causes of vision loss in people over the age of 40. Cataracts are more common with age and in people with certain diseases like diabetes. In the early stages they can go undetected as they tend to have no symptoms. A good reason to get regular eye check-ups! Find out more about the signs and symptoms of cataracts here.

Fact 3: More than 453,000 Australians are blind or visually impaired

When you think about this statistic in light of Fact 1, it’s sobering to realise that many of the existing cases of vision impairment were preventable. While many eye diseases that lead to blindness are age-related, it’s important to start early and maintain healthy behaviours throughout life as this will support your eye health later on. This includes:

  • eating healthy
  • wearing sunglasses when outside
  • avoiding smoking
  • wearing protective eyewear in hazardous situations
  • getting regular eye check-ups

You can help Australia improve its eye health statistics by sharing these facts with your friends and family this World Sight Day and #MakeVisionCount.

Want more stats on vision impairment? Check out the Vision 2020 Australia website here.