KeepSight, a formally structured program that directly encourages and reminds all Australians with diabetes to have regular eye examinations within recommended time frames, has been officially launched by the Honourable Minister for Health, Greg Hunt MP.
The collaborative initiative between government, not for profits, associations, and the private sector, has been funded by an initial Federal Government grant of AU$1million, and Specsavers, which has committed $1 million each year for five years.
Ophthalmologist Dr. Peter Van Wijngaarden, who has worked to develop the program for five years, explained its significance and how it will work.
“We know about 1.7 million people in Australia have diabetes and while all of them are at risk of vision loss and blindness, almost two thirds don’t know that diabetes puts their vision at risk.”
He said the aim is to “close the gap” by getting the 630,000 Australians with diabetes not currently engaged in eye care to seek an eye examination.
Through KeepSight, Diabetes Australia will use the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) to contact all Australians with diabetes registered on its database.
There are three basic components to the program:
- An eye check alert will be sent to people registered on the NDSS database and a reminder system will be put in place for those who have seen an eye care provider in the past to reduce the risk of falling between cracks,
- A KeepSight App and the Oculo platform will allow linkage of eye examinations with the patients’ NDSS database record, and
- The program will draw on Australia’s existing world class specialists and eye care providers.
Diabetes Australia will coordinate the KeepSight program and be responsible for consumer engagement. Vision 2020 will coordinate health providers.