By Kirsty Machon
More than 3,200 Australians have now been examined as part of the National Eye Health Survey, with high rates of participation. Eighty per cent of people approached to be part of the survey agreed to take part.
The ambitious program aims to address the current lack of up-to-date population-based data about the prevalence of eye disease and causes of vision loss in the Australian community.
Key goals include determining the leading causes of blindness and vision loss, measuring the detection and treatment rate of conditions including glaucoma and macular degeneration, and assessing patterns of monitoring for people with diabetic eye disease.
The project is being undertaken with $1.2 million of Australian Government funding granted to Vision 2020 Australia and with additional private sector and non-government organisation support. The research is being conducted by the Centre for Eye Research Australia.
There are 30 sites across mainland Australia, with a mix of metropolitan, regional, rural and remote locations. Recruitment and testing at 21 of those sites has been completed.
In early 2016, the NEHS team will travel to Perth and to Dandenong in Victoria.
The updated prevalence data will be invaluable for promoting an understanding of Australia’s eye health and needs. Population based Australian data on eye health are currently based on studies from the late 1990s. Data on Indigenous eye health collected through the NEHS will ensure information from a national Indigenous eye health survey conducted in 2008 will be updated.