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HomeminewsHappy World Ophthalmologist Day 8 August 2023

Happy World Ophthalmologist Day 8 August 2023

A staggering nine in 10 Australians report that ‘sight’ is their most valued sense,1 but few know the crucial role Ophthalmologists play in eye health.

The Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) is hoping to change this by increasing awareness this – and every – World Ophthalmologist Day.

ophthalmologists will soon be among a small cohort of just three medical specialties who are legislated to use the title of ‘surgeon’ in Australia

Also known as Ophthalmologist Day or International Ophthalmology Day, it is an unofficial professional day of celebration for all specialists in medical and surgical eye disease that is marked annually on 8 August.

ASO Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Gallagher, said while it is currently a lesser-known date on the Australian calendar, he hopes this will soon change.

“As many as 1,100 ophthalmologists are working around the country right now restoring sight to everyday Australians and improving our quality of life,” he said.

“Sadly though, few people know the difference between the scope of practice of an ophthalmologist and an optometrist.

“An ophthalmologist has the highest level of medical training in the eye health sector and is not only a specialist eye doctor, but they are also eye surgeons,” Mr Gallagher said.

In fact, ophthalmologists will soon be among a small cohort of just three medical specialties who are legislated to use the title of ‘surgeon’ in Australia.

Mr Gallagher said while optometrists conduct annual or regular eye tests, patients with known eye conditions should be seeing an ophthalmologist for management.

“More than half of all Australians self-reported having one or more chronic eye conditions in 2017– 2018,1 and this includes for common conditions such as cataract, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy,” Mr Gallagher said.

“Undetected or unmanaged, these conditions can lead to vision loss or blindness — and in Australia, around 90%1 of all cases of blindness are preventable with appropriate medical care.”

“We can address the significant rates of preventable blindness by increasing public health literacy around the importance of eye health and the roles of different eye health professionals.

“This includes starting with the basic step of getting all Australians to commit to an annual eye check.”

Visit: www.asoeye.org/world-ophthalmologist-day

Reference
1. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, Eye Health and Vision, Department of Health and Aged Care, accessed 18 July 2023, health.gov.au/topics/eye-health-and-vision.