More than 453,000 Australians are blind or vision impaired and approximately 90 per cent of these conditions are preventable or treatable if detected early.
In Australia, 90 per cent of vision loss and blindness is preventable or treatable if identified early, so it’s important for people to get regular eye tests – particularly once they are over the age of 40.
It’s a timely message as Australians prepare to celebrate World Sight Day on October 11. Falling on the second Thursday of October each year, World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.
This year’s theme is ‘Eye Care Everywhere’ and seeks to ensure everyone has access to the care they need.
The most prevalent causes of vision loss and blindness in Australia, as in other developed countries, are the age-related degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataract.
Macular degeneration is a condition of the eye where the macula deteriorates, and is age-related, generally affecting people 60 years and over.
Glaucoma affects the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain. It often runs in families and can lead to vision loss, but is treatable if detected early.
A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens in the eye and is one of the leading causes of vision impairment. While cataracts most commonly occur in those who are older, they can develop in younger people as well. Some people are born with a cataract.
The prevalence of vision impairment and blindness doubles with each decade over 60 years for non-Indigenous Australians.
“Good vision is one of those things which people too often take for granted, so World Sight Day is a great reminder to look after your eyes,” Vision 2020 Australia CEO Judith Abbott said.
“In Australia, 90 per cent of vision loss and blindness is preventable or treatable if identified early, so it’s important for people to get regular eye tests – particularly once they are over the age of 40.
“The theme for this year’s World Sight Day is #EyeCareEverywhere. Many parts of the world, including Australia, still experience significant challenges with preventable blindness, and we must do more to combat this.”