World Sight Day was established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2000 and is held on the second Thursday in October to raise awareness about blindness and vision impairment.
This year the event falls on October 10 and with the theme of 'vision first' chief executive officer for Vision 2020 Australia, Judith Abbott, says it is the perfect time for Australians to think about their sight.
"As we approach the year 2020, it's never been a more appropriate time for people to put vision first to keep their eyesight 20/20," she said.
"Approximately 90 per cent of vision loss and blindness is preventable or treatable if identified early, so having regular eye tests is an important part of maintaining good eye health and spotting potential concerns before it's too late."
This vision loss and blindness can be attributed to five main conditions: refractive error (needing glasses), diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataract and glaucoma.
The risk of developing an eye condition increases as people enter their forties, while people who smoke, have diabetes, have a family history of eye disease or are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent may have an increased risk of eye disease, blindness or vision impairment and should make having an eye test one of their health priorities.
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No referral is needed for an eye examination with an optometrist and the visit is generally covered by Medicare. An eye examination with an ophthalmologist requires a referral which can be obtained by speaking with your GP or optometrist.
Vision 2020 Australia would like to remind all Australians to put their vision first by having their eyes checked.
Eye health tips:
- Make sure you have a regular eye check
- Wear a hat and sunglasses outside
- Wear eye protection when playing sports like squash or performing hazardous tasks
- Do not smoke or quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy diet with regular exercise
- Manage your diabetes (blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels)