Vision Impairment and Blindness

Published: July 28, 2013

Vision impairment and blindness are among the leading disabilities in Australia. Many eye diseases and disorders have no symptoms or early warning signs with many people believing that decreasing vision is just part of ageing. Raising general public awareness about eye health is the first line of defence in reducing the risks.

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Facts on vision impairment

According to the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, ‘loss of sight’ was the reason for disability given by 122,000 in Australia under the age of 65 (1). Further, it is estimated that in Australia 116,000 people refer to a hospital or general practitioners each year with eye injuries. This represents an enormous financial problem, with analysis undertaken by Access Economics for the Centre for Eye Research Australia estimating the total cost of vision disorders in Australia to be $9.85 billion per annum.(2)

Eye protection

One of the core problems is that many people do not wear eye protection when performing high risk activities, such as welding and grinding, particularly in the home environment. Injuries also occur when eye protection is ill fitting or not worn at appropriate times (3). People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing eye disease, particularly diabetic retinopathy, cataract and glaucoma. It is estimated that as many as one million Australians have diabetes, though many are unaware of it.

Age at onset and duration of diabetes are also key factors influencing the prevalence of eye disease in people with diabetes (4).

Prevention is key and so is trauma insurance

Like many diseases, eye disease, blindness and vision impairment are prevented, where possible, through addressing known modifiable risk factors. The next step is raising public awareness to lessen these risks.

Apart from prevention, having adequate trauma insurance can also help if the worst were to happen. A trauma insurance policy, also known as critical illness insurance, pays a lump sum in the event of a specified medical condition. These ‘medical conditions’ vary from insurer to insurer, but many cover loss of vision in one or both eyes, depending on the insurance company.

Select insurance companies insure permanent loss of sight in both eyes or permanent loss of sight in one eye with trauma insurance. If you are at risk of blindness fill in the form above and receive free trauma insurance quotes.

Source:

1. ABS 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers. Cat No. 4430.0
2. Eye Research Australia 2004, Clear Insight: The Economic Impact and Cost of Vision Loss in Australia A Report prepared by Access Economics Pty Ltd. The Centre for Eye Research Australia, Melbourne 2004
3. A.L. Imberger, A.E. Altmann, W. Watson 1998 Unintentional Adult Eye Injuries in Victoria (Monash University Accident Research Centre 1998)
4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2002. Diabetes: Australian Facts 2002. AIHW Cat.No. CVD 20 (Diabetes Series No 3) Canberra: AIHW

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