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Children’s optometric consults increase

10/10/2018By Matthew Woodley
Children’s optometric consultations have increased steadily over the past four years, according to recently released Medicare information.

Data for the 2017-18 financial year indicated there had been a per capita increase in the provision of services to 0–4-year-olds of nearly 500 per 100,000 since 2014-15. However, the change in children’s vision assessments (Medicare item number 10943) was less pronounced, with it increasing from 330 per 100,000 in 2014-15 to 462 per 100,000 in the last financial year.

According to Optometry Australia (OA)’s general manager of policy, Ms Skye Cappuccio, childhood myopia is considered a major contributing factor to the increased number of consultations.

“While this rate of increase is not as high as we would like it is moving in the right direction.”
Skye Cappuccio, OA

“While this rate of increase is not as high as we would like it is moving in the right direction, with more children having their vision assessed and vision problems addressed,” Cappuccio said.

“In Australia, approximately one in five children suffers from an undetected vision problem and it is Optometry Australia’s mission to reduce this. It is more critical than ever that children have their eyes examined regularly to ensure any adverse vision changes are detected and treated early. We are therefore delighted to see an upward trend in children visiting an optometrist.”

OA’s public awareness campaign ‘Good vision for life’, which launched two years ago, included a strong emphasis on children’s vision.

Overall, the 10943 item number was processed 387,108 times during this period, with the annual count increasing from 79,312 in 2014-15, to 115,956 in 2017-18.


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