Plano is in the midst of a ‘golden age’ of the global eye care industry, with more than 80 per cent of the nation’s clinics offering free eye exams and services for children, according to the International Federation of Eye Care Organisations (IFOE).
The IFEO says about 90 per cent are private, while the other 20 per cent is managed by a hospital.
“We are in a golden era in the eye care sector,” said Dr Jill Hensley, a senior consultant in orthopaedics at Plano Health.
She said more than 60 per cent hospitals had free eye care, with the remaining 10 per cent being managed by hospitals.
The IFOE is calling on the Federal Government to fund more eye care services, and for the Government to establish a national care strategy for the eyes.
‘We’re in a world where you can go to a doctor and have an appointment with a professional, without the stress of being on your own for six weeks,’ Dr Hensling said.
“[There is] a lot of anxiety around the health of the eye.”
In some ways it’s been a golden time, in other ways we’ve seen some really good news.
“Dr Hensler said the eye disease statistics were concerning, with a rise in the number of eye deaths in the past decade.
In Australia, about 40 per cent people are diagnosed with retinal detachment, and there are more than 70,000 people with the condition, she said.”
The incidence of retinal detachments is increasing, so there is a real need to look at ways of managing the eye and keeping eye health safe,” Dr Hengle said.
Dr Hengling said the IFOE was encouraging the Government and health agencies to focus on eye health in its annual report, which is due to be released on Thursday.
However, she stressed that the IFEOC could not recommend a specific care plan.
Dr Ivene Hensiells, from the Australian Institute of Optometrists, said there were some major differences in the global health picture, with some countries, such as the US, Australia and the UK, having more than 90 per, and a similar proportion of people with eye conditions.
”There are many countries where there is less need, and those that have less need are those that do have eye problems,” she said, adding the UK was in the top 20 per, with Australia and Canada coming in at third and fourth.
It was estimated there were about 2.8 million people living with retinitis pigmentosa, which causes a condition that causes dark circles under the eye, or ataxia, in the retina.
While the condition affects about one in five Australians, the number with the disorder has risen to one in 10,000 Australians, according the IFAO.
A report by the National Health and Medical Research Council found more than 3 million Australians were living with eye problems, with about half of those requiring the use of an eye mask.
Ms Hensi said while it was great to see eye health improvements, more research was needed to understand why and how people were being affected.”
People can have a lot more success when they have a doctor that knows what they’re going through, who is able to look after them, and who is doing it with the best practices in place,” she said