A new national diabetes eye screening program has been launched
to make it easier for people to have regular eye checks.
The program, called KeepSight, will encourage and remind people
living with diabetes to have regular eye checks.
"Every person with diabetes is at risk of eye damage and vision
loss because diabetes can damage blood vessels in the eye,"
Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said.
"More than 1.3 million Australians have diabetes and we think
about half, or around 630,000 people, aren't getting their eyes
checked. This means eye damage is often identified too late when
treatment is less effective and more costly.
"Often there are no signs or symptoms of eye damage and it is
only picked up when people get their eyes checked for reading or
when substantial damage has occurred."
Once people have registered with KeepSight, they'll receive
reminders and prompts to have regular diabetes eye checks. People
can choose their eye care providers and the cost of these eye
checks is usually funded by Medicare.
If your client lives with diabetes, please get them to register
at www.keepsight.org.au. Their details will be securely held by
Diabetes Australia and only used to provide regular reminders and
information to help them keep their sight.
"If we detect problems early then people can get early treatment
and damage can be prevented," Prof Johnson said.
The new KeepSight program has widespread support from leading
diabetes and eye health groups and is funded by the Australian
Government, Specsavers, Bayer and Novartis. Program partners
include Diabetes Australia, Vision 2020 Australia, Centre for Eye
Research Australia and Oculo.
The United Kingdom has used a similar program and for the first
time in 50 years, diabetes is no longer the leading cause of
blindness in working age adults there.