World Sight Day means it's time to keep your eye on vision health

EYE HEALTH: Vision 2020 Australia is reminding people not to lose sight of their vision in 2020. Photo: Vision 2020 Australia

EYE HEALTH: Vision 2020 Australia is reminding people not to lose sight of their vision in 2020. Photo: Vision 2020 Australia

Have you lost sight of your own vision? World Sight Day is on Thursday, October 8 this year and the national peak body for the eye health and vision care sector wants to remind Australians to keep vision health a priority.

Vision 2020 Australia CEO Judith Abbott said in light of the occasion, it's never been more important for people to look after their eye health, particularly during the pandemic.

"While 2020 has been a challenging year for Australians' health, optometrists and other eye health professionals are open and continuing to offer care to people who need it," she said.

With around 90 per cent of blindness and vision impairment preventable or treatable if detected early enough, now is the ideal time to prioritise eye health.

Vision 2020 Australia is also reminding all Australians with an existing eye condition that it's important for them to continue their treatment.

"Approximately 90 percent of vision loss is preventable or treatable if identified early, so if you notice a change in your vision, don't delay seeking treatment, and if you have an existing eye condition, it's important to continue receiving care," Ms Abbott said.

Eye tests can be arranged directly through an optometrist, without the need for a referral, and are usually covered by Medicare.

The risk of developing an eye condition increases as people enter their 40s, while people who smoke, have diabetes, have a family history of eye disease, or are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent are also at increased risk of eye disease.

"The Australian eye sector has made great strides in improving eye care over the past 20 years, particularly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities where the prevalence of blindness and vision loss has more than halved, but there is still so much to do," Ms Abbott said.

"Without action, we estimate the number of Australians living with blindness or vision loss will almost double by 2030.

"The year 2020 is a perfect time for all of us to commit to action to prevent avoidable vision loss and improve opportunities and support for Australians who experience permanent vision loss."

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