A new pilot program – encouraging a coordinated approach between primary general health professionals and the eye care profession – will target specific areas of Victoria, where there’s an increased risk of eye disease.
Recruitment of general and eye health professionals interested in the Vision Initiative pilot programs – which will run until 2015 – has begun in four local government areas in Victoria.
Launching the program, the Victorian Health Minister David Davis said more than a quarter of all Victorians don’t have regular eye tests – and over 20 per cent have never had an eye test.1
Vision 2020 Australia CEO Jennifer Gersbeck said some areas of Victoria have a higher proportion of people at increased risk of eye disease.
Some areas of Victoria have a higher proportion of people with increased risk of eye disease…
“We know people who are over 40, have a family history of eye disease, people with diabetes, smokers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have an increased risk of developing certain eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or refractive error,” Ms. Gersbeck said.
“Some areas of Victoria have a higher proportion of people with increased risk of eye disease and coupled with the number of people who are not getting regular eye tests in these areas, this should ring alarm bells.”
The Vision Initiative pilot will operate in the local government areas of Darebin, Greater Geelong, Greater Shepparton and Latrobe.
Through the pilot projects, primary health care professionals such as pharmacists, GPs and practice nurses will be supported with training and development.
Helen Threlfall, Deputy CEO of General Practice Victoria, said primary health professionals were well placed to identify patients at risk of eye disease and had key role in preventing avoidable blindness and vision loss.
The projects will be complemented by concentrated communications aimed to increase awareness of the importance of regular eye tests and key prevention activity.
Further information is available online at: www.visioninitiative.org.au
1. 2011–2012 Victorian Population Health Survey,
Department of Health (soon to be released).