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New: Diabetic Eye Disease CPD Course for Optometrists

Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) has released a new CPD course for optometrists on diabetic eye disease that’s available now through mieducation.com. The content has been developed by leading retinal specialists and has received Optometry Australia Institute of Excellence Quality Assurance.

Reflecting the latest standards of care, the accredited course is made up of two 30-minute eLearning modules and two 15-minute assessments. It takes 1.5 hours to complete, with assessments.

MDFA’s new CPD underlines how prevention, early detection and treatment can reduce the incidence and impact of diabetic eye disease – the leading cause of preventable blindness among working-age Australians.1,2 


Between 300,000 and 400,000 Australians live with diabetic retinopathy (DR), and 72,000 have diabetic macular oedema (DMO).3

Every one of the estimated 1.7 million Australians with diabetes is at risk of DR. This includes 1.2 million people with diagnosed diabetes, as well as 500,000 with undiagnosed type two diabetes.

One in three people over the age of 50 with diabetes has DR, and estimates suggest that over two million Australians will be living with diabetes by 2025. This expected growth will lead to a corresponding rise in DR and vision loss.2,5

The impact of diabetic eye disease on the individual and the community is considerable. It can result in higher rates of unemployment and underemployment, reduced safety in the workplace and home, and increased rates of depression. Additionally, it can result in greater dependence on carers due to an inability to drive, reduced independent mobility and ability to undertake common activities.

Vision loss in patients with diabetes also directly interferes with essential tasks to manage the condition, such as insulin administration, glucose monitoring, and exercise; making diabetes progression and other complications more likely.

“Diabetes needs to be managed holistically and optometrists can play a really important part in the diabetes care team,” says Paula Katalinic, Professional Services and Advocacy Manager Optometry NSW/ACT and former Lead Clinician (Diabetes and Vascular Disease) at the Centre for Eye Health, who contributes to the new MDFA CPD.

“We know that managing these modifiable risk factors and other preventative strategies dramatically reduces the risk of diabetes related vision loss and blindness. Taking the time to explain how these risk factors lower the risk of vision loss is time well spent and, as optometrists, we can be directly responsible for better long-term visual outcomes in our patients with diabetes.”

As well as this course on diabetic eye disease, MDFA also offers free CPD on age-related macular degeneration. Each course is worth 1.5 hours with assessment in Australia and 1.5G in New Zealand.

The courses have been funded by the Federal Government, as recommended actions in the National Strategic Action Plan for Macular Disease, and developed with a consortium of organisations, including the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmology (RANZCO) and Optometry Australia (OA).

Both courses have received Optometry Australia Institute of Excellence Quality Assurance, and are available now through mieducation.com.


  1. Baker IDI and Centre for Eye Research Australia (2013). Out of Sight. Accessed at: https://baker.edu.au/-/media/documents/impact/outofsightreport.pdf?la=en.
  2. NHMRC (2008). Guidelines for the management of diabetic retinopathy.
  3. Australian Government Department of Health (2019). National Strategic Action Plan for Macular Disease. Accessed at www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2019/09/national-strategic-action-plan-for-macular-disease_1.pdf.
  4. Diabetes Australia. Diabetes in Australia. Accessed on 16 May 2018 at: www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/diabetes-in-australia.
  5. Deloitte Access Economics (issuing body.) (2015). The economic impact of diabetic macular oedema in Australia. Deloitte Access Economics, Barton, ACT.