One in nine Indigenous people aged over 40 years have vision impairment or are blind, according to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released on 26 April.
Older Indigenous Australians are three times likely to suffer from vision impairment or blindness as older non-Indigenous Australians.
- In 2016, the estimated prevalence of bilateral vision impairment for Indigenous Australians over the age of 40 was 10.5% and the prevalence of bilateral blindness was 0.3%.
- Thar was three times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, based on age- standardised data.
- The three leading causes of vision loss for Indigenous Australians aged 40 and over in 2016 were refractive error (63%), cataract (20%) and diabetic retinopathy (5.5%).
- The report foundrachoma is found in some remote Indigenous communities of Australia.
The report said the prevalence of active trachoma among 5-9 year olds has decreased from 14% in 2009, but plateaued in recent years. In 2016 the prevalence rate was 4.7%.
It said that in in 2015-18, around 84,000 (12%) Indigenous Australians had had an eye examination in the preceding 12 months and that the age-standardised proportion of Indigenous Australians who had an eye examination remained fairly stable between 2014–15 and 2015–16, but the proportion for non-Indigenous Australians increased resulting in a widening of the gap
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