Aim - To determine the level of correct knowledge about common eye disease and attitudes towards blindness prevention and treatment, and how these factors influence self care practices in a population based sample. Methods - A cluster random sample of the Victorian population was interviewed. The study population comprised residents aged 40 years of age or older living in five randomly selected Melbourne metropolitan suburbs and four randomly selected rural areas of Victoria. Questions were asked to ascertain each person's knowledge of common age related eye disease - that is, cataract, age related macular degeneration (AMD), and glaucoma. A subsample of the population was also asked questions to determine their attitudes to blindness prevention and treatment. All respondents were asked the year of their last visit to an eye practitioner. Results - A total of 3184 (89%) eligible residents were assessed. Sex (females), age (younger people), higher levels of education (secondary, trade, or tertiary education), recent visit to an eye practitioner (within the past 2 years) and English spoken at home appeared to be significant predictors of knowledge of common age related eye conditions. Younger people believed blindness prevention and blindness treatment were the highest priorities compared with other diseases; people who spoke English at home and people with knowledge of common age related eye disease also considered blindness treatment to be the highest priority compared with other diseases. People with a previous diagnosis of age related eye disease, older people, females, people with correct knowledge of common eye diseases, and those who spoke English at home were significantly more likely to be under eye care. No interaction was found between knowledge and positive attitudes to self care practices. Conclusion - These data show that there is a large gap in the public's knowledge and understanding of eye disease that will need to be understood for eye health promotion activities.