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    Eye health and aged care: study report

    This MDFA report found an urgent need for reform of vision care within the residential aged care system.

    Image of three seniors chatting to each other

    Vision and eye healthcare study in residential aged care facilities

    A comprehensive study by the Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA), which led to the Vision and Eye Healthcare Study in Residential Aged Care Facilities report, found high rates of eye disease, often under-diagnosed and untreated. 

    Many people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) have vision problems. Sometimes, these problems have not been diagnosed or treated. Sometimes staff are unaware of the risk factors or that the person with vision problems needs certain types of help. 

    Vision loss can have many negative consequences, including an increased risk of falls and hip fractures. It also has a significant impact on independence and quality of life. With funding from the Australian Government, MDFA – in collaboration with a team of experts – carried out eye tests on residents across eight RACFs. Our report found an urgent need for reform of vision care within the residential aged care system and made some extraordinary findings.

    • more than 70 per cent of residents had some evidence of eye disease
    • around 30 per cent had untreated cataracts
    • over 60 per cent had some degree of age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in people over 50)
    • a quarter were found to have low vision.  

    Despite these statistics, the report found the use of vision aids – other than spectacles – was extremely low; and identified barriers in access to ophthalmology services.

    A number of associated resources were produced, designed to improve understanding of eye health and vision loss in Australia’s residential aged care facilities. There is also an executive summary.

    These digital training tools are designed to improve understanding of eye health and vision loss in Australia’s residential aged care facilities (RACFs).  –

    Download or view the resource materials