In government schools, EVAC reports are used to determine eligibility for the Department’s Accessible Buildings Program and for the Program for Students with Disabilities (for students who are legally blind).
Non-government schools may use EVAC reports to determine access to a variety of specialised supports. Teachers often refer to EVAC reports, as they provide personalised evidence-based advice regarding teaching and learning strategies to support their student/s.
How Student Eligibility is Determined
Eligibility for additional supports is determined by our EVAC team and confirmed in an EVAC report prepared by one of our EVAC education officers.
The determination of a student’s eligibility is based on a clinical assessment through the Eye and Ear Hospital, which is followed by a functional vision assessment conducted at the student’s school.
As a general guide, students will be eligible for additional support due to vision impairment if their vision is sufficiently low to be regarded as:
- partially sighted – distance vision with glasses, if needed, worse than 6/18 and/or a visual field no greater than 20 degrees in radius around a central fixation or
- legally blind – distance vision with glasses, if needed, worse than 6/60 and/or a visual field no greater than 10 degrees in radius around a central fixation.
These measures are related to vision tested with both eyes open.
More detail - Levels of vision impairment
The World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the international standard health care classification system. The ICD 11th Edition (2019) outlines six categories of vision impairment based on level of visual acuity after correction.
As well as the visual acuities listed below, the ICD states that individuals with a visual field of the better eye no greater than 10 degrees in radius around central fixation should be counted in categories 4-6.
|Category||Presenting Distance Visual Acuity|
Mild vision impairment
Less than 6/12
Moderate vision impairment
Less than 6/18
Severe vision impairment
Less than 6/60
Less than 3/60
Less than 1/60
No light perception
In Australia the criteria for legal blindness is defined in Section 95 of the Commonwealth Social Security Act 1991, as a visual acuity after correction with suitable lenses of less than 6/60, or a visual field loss to within 10 degrees of fixation. The Program for Students with a Disability uses this same definition in order to establish eligibility for additional funding due to vision impairment
It is generally accepted that given the visual demands of education, the definition of legal blindness as visual acuity less than 6/60 is more appropriate than the more stringent ICD definition of 3/60. We use this well-established and widely used benchmark.
For partially sighted students, there is no consistent state or national benchmark, such as that which is defined by the Commonwealth Social Security Act for legal blindness. There is also no commonly agreed definition of vision impairment, partial sightedness or low vision. Different organisations vary in their measures.
The Victorian Department of Education and Training benchmark for eligibility for both visual acuity and visual field reduction are broadly in line with the majority of other Australian state and territory education authorities. This is a distance vision with glasses, if needed, worse than 6/18 and/or a visual field no greater than 20 degrees in radius around a central fixation.