Avoidable Blindness and Vision Loss: Early Detection is Key

Did you know that in Australia approximately 90% of blindness and vision loss is avoidable or treatable if detected early?

Age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and refractive error are often asymptomatic in their early stages. As such, it is unlikely that patients will raise their eye health as an issue until the condition worsens and sight is lost.

This is where primary health providers can play a key role in saving the sight of their patients.

When talking to patients, identify those who may be more at risk of developing an eye condition. Ask them ‘When was your last eye exam?’ and encourage them to have regular eye examinations (every 2-3 years or more often depending on circumstances), provide them with eye health information, and refer them to a local optometrist, or ophthalmologist (when clinically required).

The most at-risk groups include those aged over 40, smokers, people with diabetes, people with a family history of eye disease and those of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. It is also important to note that people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds may be less likely to have regular eye examinations as they may not be aware of services available and how to access them.

So get the conversation started, it could save their sight.

For more information, visit www.visioninitiative.org.au

For free resources on eye health and vision care, visit http://www.visioninitiative.org.au/health-professionals/professional-resources

To find out more about online training on eye health and vision care for GPs, practice nurses and pharmacists, visit http://www.visioninitiative.org.au/health-professionals/professional-training