Reframing vision impairment for the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme

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Australia has recently undergone a major shift in the way people with disability are supported, with the implementation in 2013 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Disability support including people with vision impairment will be determined using a series of validated tools to develop a negotiated plan between the NDIS and the person. Due to the immediate roll-out of the NDIS, an urgent need exists for access to suitable tools for the planning process. Discussions in 2014 between the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and key stakeholder organisations revealed that a tool to measure the severity of a person's vision impairment is not currently available.

It is vital that eye health professionals become aware of the NDIS process and the reporting requirements. It is also crucial that eye health professionals as experts support the development of the NDIS tools, to ensure the outcome considers the person's broad visual function rather than relying exclusively on clinical measurements to best define the person's support needs. This paper aims to report on a preliminary method rather than a tool that has been developed and recommended to the NDIA. The method has drawn on the Model of Visual Functioning, proposed by Corn (1983) that portrays vision as a multifactorial and complex entity. The method reflects the model's approach by adjusting the severity of a person's vision impairment when additional factors are present that impact on the person's visual function. The strengths and limitations of the method are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Orthoptic Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • vision impairment
  • disability
  • visual function


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