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Thursday / June 20.
HomeminewsDiabetes and Blindness: Get Your Eyes Tested this JulEYE

Diabetes and Blindness: Get Your Eyes Tested this JulEYE

Consider these staggering figures: Australians with diabetes are 25 times more likely to develop vision loss, accounting for 10 per cent of all blindness in Australia; diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in Australians under the age of 60.

Despite these overwhelming statistics, nearly 40 per cent of Australians living with diabetes neglect regular eye examinations, with one in three admitting that they have never had their eyes tested.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) Eye Foundation is once again promoting its annual JulEYE community awareness month.

Eye Foundation CEO Jacinta Spurrett said the message for week two of JulEYE focuses on diabetes and blindness with the simple message: no matter what your age, get your eyes tested.

1.2 million Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes, and approximately one in every six is affected by diabetic retinopathy

“In alignment with the Australian Diabetes Council’s ‘Diabetes Awareness Week’, the Eye Foundation will focus on awareness for the prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

“Highlighting the link between diabetes and eye health, we urge people with diabetes – no matter their age – to make regular eye checks part of their diabetes management plan.

“Diabetic retinopathy is a major, and often overlooked, cause of vision loss and blindness in Australia.”

She said 1.2 million Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes, and approximately one in every six is affected by diabetic retinopathy.

RANZCO Fellow, Professor Mark Gillies, said there were usually no warning signs in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, which is why regular eye checks should form part of a diabetes management plan.

“By the time deterioration becomes noticeable, permanent damage may have been done. An extensive eye examination should be done as soon as diabetes is diagnosed and at least every two years after that. If diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed, eye examinations may need to be done annually.

“If early detection is achieved, more than 90 per cent of diabetes related vision loss is preventable and treatable,” Professor Gillies said.