With funding from the Victoria Department of Health (DH), Gippsland PHN has partnered with Vision 2020 Australia to improve screening and detection of eye conditions and disease for at risk groups across Gippsland. Gippsland PHN is one of five primary health networks across Victoria to implement the project.
The pilot project involves 10 Gippsland general practices. Each received $7000 to implement the quality and systems improvement project to focus on embedding eye health preventative care within their practice.
Many eye conditions have no symptoms in their early stages and therefore identifying those at higher risk of eye disease is important in primary health care. General practice plays a crucial role in reducing avoidable blindness and vision loss, and its associated burden of disease.
This project will focus on supporting the participating general practices to identify, develop and implement 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. Using a whole of practice approach, practices will also focus on increasing engagement with local optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Many eye conditions are preventable if detected or treated early. Regular eye examinations are an effective measure for identification and prevention of avoidable blindness and vision loss.
General practice plays a crucial role in identifying those at high risk of eye disease to reduce the associated burden of disease. Early detection is key.
While eye disease can occur at any age, the risk factors include:
The impacts of vision loss are multifaceted. Vision loss is associated with serious injuries caused by falls and motor vehicle accidents, loss independence, reduced social engagement and depression. There are strong associations between vision loss and dementia.
In addition, emerging evidence shows increased screen time is associated with vision problems in children. It is recommended that children have a full eye examination with an optometrist prior to commencing school and then regular visits as they progress through primary and secondary school.
To support the project, Vision 2020 Australia has developed a range of free online professional development and training opportunities for all healthcare professionals working across the primary care sector. Register to access the online training.