Optometry Australia has reported a 25 per cent drop in the number of people presenting at hospital emergency departments for eye health issues.
A review of emergency department presentations across Australia in 2016-171 revealed that almost 120,000 people presented for eye conditions,2 of which just over 19,640 were considered non-urgent.
In a statement, the Association expressed concern over the number of people presenting to emergency departments for eye health issues, but said it was encouraged by “a noticeable 25 per cent drop in the number presenting with non-urgent conditions over the past three years”.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s annual Emergency department care report, in 2015-16, emergency departments across Australia were presented with just over 25,200 non-urgent eye health issues and in 2014-15, with 26,000.
It is clear that our messages are starting to resonate with Australians
Between 2015-16 and 2016-17, emergency departments also saw 1.5 per cent less presentations for eye related conditions across all diagnostic block and triage categories.3
Optometry Australia’s CEO Lyn Brodie said, “We anticipate that this drop in non-urgent presentations could relate to people’s better understanding of the important role of optometrists in managing Australian’s eye health and that more people are seeking opinions of optometrists for acute eye conditions rather than attend emergency departments”.
In 2016-17, there were 8.89 million eye-related Medicare consultations, an increase of almost 7.7 per cent over the same three years since 2014-15.
“It is clear that our messages are starting to resonate with Australians – regular eye examinations can help to identify emerging, and potentially vision-threatening eye health issues such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, as well as highlighting other diseases such as high blood pressure, propensity for stroke, diabetes and some cancers.
“Eye examinations are therefore an important tool for determining your overall health and living well.
“Our organisation has worked hard to raise the profile of optometry through our Good vision for life campaign and it appears that our messages are starting to have a positive impact,” said Ms. Brodie.