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Keywords:

  • cataract surgery;
  • diabetic retinopathy;
  • eye health cost;
  • Indigenous Australians;
  • refractive error

Abstract

Objective

To estimate the costs of the extra resources required to close the gap of vision between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Design

Constructing comprehensive eye care pathways for Indigenous Australians with their related probabilities, to capture full eye care usage compared with current usage rate for cataract surgery, refractive error and diabetic retinopathy using the best available data.

Setting

Urban and remote regions of Australia.

Interventions

The provision of eye care for cataract surgery, refractive error and diabetic retinopathy.

Main outcome measures

Estimated cost needed for full access, estimated current spending and estimated extra cost required to close the gaps of cataract surgery, refractive error and diabetic retinopathy for Indigenous Australians.

Results

Total cost needed for full coverage of all three major eye conditions is $45.5 million per year in 2011 Australian dollars. Current annual spending is $17.4 million. Additional yearly cost required to close the gap of vision is $28 million. This includes extra-capped funds of $3 million from the Commonwealth Government and $2 million from the State and Territory Governments. Additional coordination costs per year are $13.3 million.

Conclusions

Although available data are limited, this study has produced the first estimates that are indicative of the need for planning and provide equity in eye care.