Key messages

  • The number of blind or visually impaired Australians is expected to rise to 801,000 by the year 2020.
  • The Vision Initiative aims to eliminate avoidable blindness and vision loss by the year 2020.
  • Blindness and vision impairment are often preventable and don’t need to be barriers to community participation.

The Department of Health and Human Services is committed to the elimination of avoidable blindness and vision loss. It is working collaboratively with the eye health and health sectors to achieve this goal, particularly with the principal at-risk groups.

Activities include, but are not limited to the following:

  • the Victorian Eyecare Service (VES)
  • the Victorian Aboriginal Spectacle Subsidy Scheme (VASSS)
  • the Vision Initiative
  • four regional Koolin Balit (Victoria’s Aboriginal health strategy) eye health projects across Victoria
  • A Victorian Aboriginal eye health statewide coordinator.

Vision Initiative

The department provides funding to Vision 2020 Australia to deliver the Vision Initiative, which forms part of the Victorian public health response to the National Framework for Action to Promote Eye Health and Prevent Avoidable Blindness and Vision Loss.

The Vision Initiative aims to prevent avoidable blindness and reduce the impact of vision loss for all Victorians.

Its key objectives are to:

  • increase the awareness and knowledge of target population groups about the importance of prevention activity and regular eye examinations
  • improve understanding and awareness among health and community professionals of eye health and vision issues and referral pathways
  • ensure a platform for collaboration and sustainable partnerships between Victorian eye health and vision care providers, government and other organisations.

Vision 2020 Australia

Vision 2020 Australia is the national peak body for the eye health and vision care sector. It was established as part of a global initiative of the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Its role is to ensure that eye health and vision care remain high on the health, disability and international development agendas of governments in Australia.

Vision 2020 Australia represents 50 member organisations involved in:

  • local and global eye care
  • health promotion
  • low vision support
  • vision rehabilitation
  • eye research
  • professional assistance and community support.