In Australia, 1.3 million people have diabetes and it is believed that about half of those – or around 630,000 people – aren’t getting their eyes checked. Consequently, eye damage is often identified too late, when treatment is less effective and more costly.
Back in March, KeepSight was launched to the public – a national diabetes eye screening program designed to make it easier for people to remember to have regular eye checks. The collaborative program is a partnership between the Australian Government and Diabetes Australia, corporates and sector organisations including Specsavers, Vision 2020, Oculo, Centre for Eye Research, Bayer and Novartis. In this issue, Associate Professor Peter van Wijngaarden, who initiated the program, describes how and why KeepSight works and encourages all eye care practitioners (ECPs) to register their participation. Importantly, he asks ECPs to encourage their patients to be registered as well. This month is the perfect time to do this, as the annual National Diabetes Week campaign, from 14–20 July, draws attention to the disease.
To enhance your knowledge about diabetic eye disease, optometrist Amira Howari has written two CPD articles for this issue. The first is on detection and management with the assistance of innovative clinical technology, and the second is on the effects of diabetic eye disease beyond the retina, primarily dry eye symptoms. Amira, as it happens, lives with diabetes and is an Ambassador of Diabetes Australia. She has also been instrumental in getting KeepSight off the ground.
It has been fabulous to attend some of the University prize and scholarship events for students of eye health in recent weeks. It is always inspiring and reassuring to hear the next generation of health professionals speak with such passion about improving eye health outcomes. Globally, our eye health professionals are also being recognised for their achievements and contributions. While space does not allow us to publish all the news of award recipients, you can read about some of them in the coming pages. I also encourage you to check mivision.com.au for news of more.