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VISION 2020: The Right to Sight is the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, is a joint program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) with an international membership of Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s), professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations.

It is estimated that approximately 314 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness. 90% of vision impairment is treatable or preventable.

Vision 2020 Australia and the Vision Initiative

Vision 2020 Australia is the national body working in partnership to prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss. It leads advocacy efforts and raises community awareness about eye health and vision care.

It provides a platform for collaboration bringing together Australian organisations involved in local and global eye care service delivery, health promotion and development, low vision support, vision health rehabilitation, eye research, professional assistance and community support.

The Vision Initiative draws together partner organisations across the full continuum of care including primary, secondary and tertiary health and eye health providers, local and state government and community organisations.

The Vision Initiative is an integrated health promotion program, managed by Vision 2020 Australia and funded by the Victorian Department of Health.

The Vision Initiative’s strategic objectives are to:

    • increase the awareness and knowledge of at-risk, non-tested and under-tested groups about the importance of prevention activity, regular eye examinations and low vision services;
    • improve the understanding and awareness of health professionals and eye health professionals, of eye health, vision issues and referral pathways across the full continuum of care; and
    • ensure a platform for collaboration and sustainable partnerships between Victorian eye health and vision care providers, government and other organisations.Age-related Macular Degeneration (AAMD); Cataract; Diabetic retinopathy; Glaucoma; and“In Australia in 2009, there were almost 575,000 Australians aged over 40 with vision loss. Of these, around 66,500 were blind. It is projected that the number of people aged over 40 with vision loss will rise to almost 801,000 by 2020 and those who are blind will rise to 102,750.” (2010 Clear Focus Report)
    • People with vision impairment are:
    • Under or uncorrected refractive error.
    • Approximately 500,000 Australians are affected by blindness or vision impairment. 80% of these are caused by five common eye conditions:
  • Twice as likely to fall;
  • Three times as likely to suffer from depression;
  • At risk of hip fractures by up to eight times more than the rest of the population; and
  • Are admitted to nursing homes three years earlier than the rest of the population.

The good news is that almost 90% of vision impairment is preventable or treatable.

Saving your client’s sight could be as easy as encouraging them to have regular eye tests. Regular eye tests will help detect any problems early and allow for the best treatment.

The Vison Initiative collaborated with the ANMF’s Federal Education team to provide a detailed tutorial on Eye Health and Vison Care to assist health professionals to garner a deep understanding of what eye health entails and how to best support patients and clients to maintain optimum eye health and vision for as long as possible.

The tutorial provides a summary of eye anatomy and physiology, the importance of eye health and how to identify those at risk of poor eye health and low vision, testing methods to determine the level of eye health and vision, common eye conditions and a synopsis of the eye health sector. Reading the complete tutorial will give you two hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.

To access the course go to the ANMF’s Continuing Professional Education (CPE) website or follow this link