Many eye conditions don't have noticeable symptoms in their early stages, although if detected or treated early, are preventable. Regular eye examinations are an effective measure for identifying common eye problems and can prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss.
General practice plays a crucial role in reducing avoidable blindness and vision loss and its associated burden of disease, including identifying those at higher risk of eye disease.
While eye disease can occur at any age, risk factors include:
- Being over 40 years of age
- A family history of eye disease.
Eye health project background
The Victorian Department of Health (DH) has funded Murray PHN to partner with Eastern Melbourne PHN to lead the development and implementation of a quality and systems improvement pilot project, to improve eye screening and detection of eye conditions/disease for at risk groups across Victoria to reduce the prevalence of avoidable blindness and vision loss. The project is being undertaken in partnership with Vision 2020 Australia, Gippsland PHN, North Western Melbourne PHN and Western Victoria PHN.
The project began in March 2023 with up to 10 general practices engaged in each of the participating Victorian PHN regions. Each practice will focus on identifying, developing and implementing quality and sustainable system improvements to support the ongoing identification and appropriate referral to eye health professionals of people at risk of developing eye disease or vision loss. Practices are supported with resources included in an orientation package, training and quality improvement coaching.
Currently, 10 practices in the Murray PHN region are engaged in the pilot project.
Free online training modules
To support the project, our partner Vision 2020 Australia, the peak body for eye health and vision care organisations in Australia, developed a range of online professional development and training modules. These are available for free for all healthcare professionals working across the primary care sector in Victoria, regardless of their participation in the pilot project.
The modules cover various topics including: an introduction to eye health and vision care; advanced eye care; common eye conditions; diabetes eye care; emergency eye care; and children's vision. All healthcare professionals are invited to access this training.
Click here to download a training flyer.
To access the training, register on the Vision 2020 Australia training platform:
Free live webinars in 2023
A series of webinars has also been developed by Vision 2020 Australia to further support healthcare professionals in their eye health professional development.
|Date||Webinar title||Registration link|
|Tuesday 14 March||Eye health webinar 1: Glaucoma deep-dive||Watch recording|
|Tuesday 9 May||Eye health webinar 2: Macular degeneration||Watch recording|
|Wednesday 12 July||Eye health webinar 3: Diabetes and eye health||Watch recording|
|Wednesday 30 August 6.30pm||Eye health webinar 4: Children’s vision||Register on Eventbrite|
|Thursday 12 October 6.30pm||Eye health webinar 5: Cataracts deep-dive||Register on Eventbrite|
Quality improvement network meetings
A series of quality improvement collaborative network meetings are planned throughout the course of the pilot project. These meetings provide an opportunity for general practices to share learnings gained from applying the model for improvement (Plan Do Study Act) to their ideas for embedding eye health preventative care into their everyday systems.
Some quality improvement ideas already shared include:
- Creation of an optometry referral template for importing into a practice's clinical information system, with versions available for Medical Director and Best Practice (To upload the template to your clinical software, right-click on the relevant link and save a copy of the file on your desktop. From your clinical software, upload the template saved on your desktop)
- Update the practice's clinical information system address book with local optometry service provider details (listings available via the National Health Service Directory)
- Update the practice's new patient intake form to include the question, "When was your last eye check?"
- Include eye health screening as part of all health assessment and GPMP templates.
- Collateral for display in waiting rooms and for patients: Vision 2020 Australia. To order, click here.
- KeepSight is a national eye check recall and reminder system for people with diabetes, led by Diabetes Australia. Healthcare providers can access the free digital platform to register patient details.
- Good Vision for Life is a hub of information that includes a search function to find a local optometrist, plus information about healthy eyes.
- Patients who are blind or have vision loss can be referred to Vision Australia for support to live the life they choose.
- Glaucoma Australia provides free education and support to people living with glaucoma and produces resources to promote early detection.
- The Victorian Eyecare Service allows eligible Victorians to receive subsidised glasses, contact lenses and visual aids
- The Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme provides $10 glasses for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria
- The NSW Spectacles Program provides glasses and vision aids to eligible recipients.
Page last updated 24 August 2023