Eye health among Australian children is the second in a series of national reports providing an overview of eye health in Australia, following on from a report about eye hospitalisations. This report contains the most recent national information from a range of data sources.

Some of the main findings in this report are given below.

Key findings

  • Along with allergies and asthma, eye disorders are the most common long-term health problems experienced by children.
  • There are more than 411,000 cases of long-term eye disorders among children in Australia. Most of these are long- and short-sightedness.
  • About one in six 10–14 year olds wear glasses or contact lenses to correct sight.
  • About 420,000 GP encounters a year deal with eye problems for children. Most of these encounters (62%) are for conjunctivitis infections.
  • In addition to the 420,000 GP encounters, there were about 600,000 other eye related Medicare services provided to children in 2006–07. The vast majority of these were for optometric services.
  • There were nearly 9,000 hospitalisations for children with eye diseases and disorders in 2006–07. One-year-olds had the highest rates of these hospitalisations among children.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had a similar rate of eye hospitalisations to other Australian children, although Indigenous girls had a significantly lower rate of hospitalisations for eye disorders. Infectious problems such as trachoma, as well as eye-related head injuries, are more common among Indigenous children.