eye health

Many eye conditions, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, do not have noticeable symptoms in their early stages, although if detected or treated early, are preventable. Regular eye examinations are an effective measure for identifying common eye problems and can prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss.

General practice plays a crucial role in reducing avoidable blindness and vision loss and its associated burden of disease, including identifying those people at higher risk of eye disease. While eye disease can occur at any age, risk factors include:

  • Being 40 years of age and older
  • Smoking
  • Having hypertension
  • Having diabetes
  • A family history of eye disease.

First Nations people and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities may also face additional barriers in accessing tailored and appropriate support for their eye health.

Eye health project background

To reduce the prevalence of avoidable blindness and vision loss and improve eye screening and detection of eye conditions/disease for at risk groups, the Victorian Department of Health funded Murray PHN to partner with Eastern Melbourne PHN to lead the development and implementation of a quality and systems improvement pilot project. The project was completed in partnership with Vision 2020 Australia, Gippsland PHN, North Western Melbourne PHN and Western Victoria PHN. Forty-eight general practices, including ten from the Murray PHN region, undertook activities to support ongoing identification and appropriate referral of patients. Practices were supported with an orientation package, that included resources, training and quality improvement coaching. A full project evaluation report expected soon but, in the meantime, you can view a summary of the key project outcomes.

Online training modules and webinars

Vision 2020 Australia, the peak body for eye health and vision care, has a range of online professional development, including self-paced modules and live webinars. Some of these resources are RACGP approved CPD activities, and are freely available to all Victorian healthcare professionals. Download a training flyer and register for Vision 2020 Australia’s training platform.

Quality improvement activities

Some of the quality improvement ideas that were tested and implemented by practices during the project included:

  • Creation of an optometry referral template for importing into a practice’s clinical information system, with versions available for Medical Director and Best Practice (To upload the template to your clinical software, right-click on the relevant link and save a copy of the file on your desktop. From your clinical software, upload the template saved on your desktop)
  • Update the practice’s clinical information system address book with local optometry service provider details (listings available via the National Health Service Directory)
  • Update the practice’s new patient intake form to include the question, “When was your last eye check?”
  • Include eye health screening as part of all health assessment and GPMP templates
  • Using clinical software or data extraction tools to identify patients with risk factors for eye disease and setting a reminder to ask them, “When was your last eye check?”.


Last Update: May 23rd, 2024