To effectively transform eye health and develop sustainable models for preventative eyecare, the industry relies on two key enablers – the optometry workforce and ongoing funding of services.
Optometry plays a vital role in the provision of primary eyecare through the assessment, diagnosis, and management of eye diseases and vision disorders which affect the majority of Australians and New Zealanders.
With an ageing population, vision impairment is expected to emerge as the most prevalent health condition among older people over the coming years.
Therefore, to ensure people can continue to access the primary eyecare services they require in a timely manner, it is important that:
The optometry workforce continues to meet the demand for optometric services; and
Adequate government funding continues to be available to subsidise costs associated with the delivery of optometric services
The supply and demand of optometric services has been, and continues to be, influenced by several key factors including:
regulatory and funding adjustments
the changing scope of optometry practice with optometrists becoming therapeutically qualified and playing a more active role in detecting and collaboratively managing the treatment of eye diseases
market growth, which is driven by population growth and increased life expectancy
As the population ages, age-related eye conditions will become more prevalent and, as has already begun, the role of optometry will continue adapting in line with the requirement for optometrists to take on more responsibility in eye disease detection and management.