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, beginning in March 2023, will engage 10 general practices in each of the Victorian PHN regions above to 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 will be supported with resources, training and quality improvement activities using an orientation package.
Practices across the region have been invited to participate, however practices in the Swan Hill, Gannawarra, Loddon, Greater Shepparton, Strathbogie, Benalla, Moira, Murrindindi, Buloke and Mitchell local government areas (LGAs) have been given priority, as these areas have the highest proportion of people with risk factors for eye disease. Refer to Figure 1 for relative risk profile of each LGA (click to enlarge).
Free online training modules
To support the project, Vision 2020 Australia, the peak body for eye health and vision care organisations in Australia, has developed a range of free online professional development and training opportunities for all healthcare professionals working across the primary care sector. To register to access the platform, click the below box and once registration is complete, a success message will appear on the screen and you will receive an automated welcome email.
The training courses include:
- An Introduction to Eye Health and Vision Care: A two-hour course for nurses, allied health professionals, Aboriginal health workers and practitioners. It covers the importance of eye health, anatomy and physiology of the eye, what is an eye examination, the main eye conditions causing vision loss in Australia and who are the professionals working in the eye health sector.
- Advanced Eye Care: One-hour course for nurses, allied health professionals and Aboriginal health workers and practitioners (prerequisite is intro course above). It includes an overview of how to conduct a basic vision assessment, the vision and eye health requirements for driving in Australia, the risks to eye health associated with chronic disease and the impact of medium and long-term use of systemic medications on eye health.
- Common Eye Conditions: A two-hour course for GPs that covers the main causes of vision loss and blindness in Australia, how to conduct a basic vision assessment, common eye infections and an introduction to ocular emergencies.
- Diabetes Eye Care: One-hour course for diabetes educators and others working with people with diabetes, including Aboriginal health workers and practitioners. It will cover the detail of how diabetes can affect eye health and vision and your role in vision loss prevention through education and support provided to people living with diabetes.
- Emergency Eye Care: A one-hour course for GPs, practice nurses and Aboriginal health workers and practitioners. It will provide information on the types of ocular emergencies that may present in practice, how to assess them and refer them appropriately to ensure timely management.
Free live webinars in 2023
|Date||Webinar title||Registration link|
|Tuesday 14 March 6.30pm||Eye health webinar 1: Glaucoma deep-dive||Register on Eventbrite|
|Tuesday 9 May 6.30pm||Eye health webinar 2: Macular degeneration||Register on Eventbrite|
|Wednesday 12 July 6.30pm||Eye health webinar 3: Diabetes and eye health||Register on Eventbrite|
|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|
- 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.
Page last updated 6 March 2023