Health professionals can now provide all patients with, or at risk of, diabetes with a comprehensive, easy to read information book on diabetic eye disease.
This has been produced by Macular Disease Foundation Australia under the guidance of the Foundation’s National Research Advisor, Professor Paul Mitchell.
Professor Mitchell said “the booklet is an excellent resource for ophthalmologists to use when alerting patients to the very real risks of blindness associated with diabetes. As we know, there is a major issue with diabetes and retinopathy. We’re seeing many people far too late, which highlights the important role of education, raising awareness and early detection. This publication is an excellent resource to support health professionals and I commend the Foundation on its work in this area,” he said.
Julie Heraghty, CEO of Macular Disease Foundation Australia said all health practitioners can play an important role in increasing awareness about diabetic eye disease. “Everyone with diabetes is at risk of losing their sight, yet there is little awareness in the community of the need to have regular eye tests. Research tells us that currently only around 50 per cent of people with diabetes have their eyes tested at the recommended frequency of every two years, or more often when at higher risk.
“Within 20 years of diagnosis with diabetes, almost everyone with type 1 diabetes, and 60 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes, will develop some form of diabetic eye disease,” said Ms. Heraghty.
Sydney optometrist Peter Hewett said he encourages patients with diabetes to have their vision screened at least every two years for signs of diabetic eye disease. “This disease can progress to advanced stages without any effects on vision, so it often goes unnoticed. However once symptoms develop, vision loss can occur very quickly and be permanent. When I explain this to patients, they soon understand why regular eye examinations are so critical,” he said.
The publication Diabetic Eye Disease, is available free of charge. Visit www.mdfoundation.com.au or phone
AUS (02) 02 9261 8900.