Future burden of vision loss in Australia: Projections from the National Eye Health Survey

Joshua Foreman, Stuart Keel, Myra McGuiness, Danny Liew, Peter van Wijngaarden, Hugh R. Taylor, Mohamed Dirani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Importance: Projections of Australia's future burden of vision loss will inform eye health service delivery. Background: This study aimed to forecast bilateral vision loss in Australia from 2020 to 2050. Design: Population-based survey. Participants: Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians (n = 4253) aged ≥50 years from the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS, 2015-2016). Methods: Using the age-and-sex-stratified prevalence of vision loss (better eye visual acuity <6/12) from the NEHS, the prevalence of, and number of people aged ≥50 years with, vision loss were forecast to 2050 using Australian census projections. Main outcome measure: Prevalence of, and number of Australians with, vision loss from 2020 to 2050. Results: The prevalence of vision loss is predicted to increase from 6.7% to 7.5% by 2050. Owing to population dynamics, the estimated number of Australians ≥50 years old with vision loss will nearly double from 532 386 in 2016 to 1 015 021 in 2050. The greatest increase in vision loss is expected to occur in those aged ≥80 years (2.6-fold, 2016 = 144 240; 2050 = 376 296). The number of people with uncorrected refractive error is projected to increase 1.7-fold, from 331 914 in 2016 to 578 969 in 2050. Conclusions and relevance: Due to population growth and ageing, the future burden of vision loss in Australia is likely to increase, but the magnitude of this change is uncertain due to a lack of available data on some relevant input variables. Nonetheless, efforts are required to ensure early detection and treatment of major eye conditions, particularly treatable conditions such as uncorrected refractive error and cataract.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 2020


  • National Eye Health Survey
  • projections
  • vision loss

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