The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) has renewed its commitment to KeepSight, a national diabetes eye health program led by Diabetes Australia that makes it easier for people to have regular diabetes eye checks with their eye care practitioner.
Launched in 2019, the program has now registered 100,000 Australians with diabetes, all of whom will receive regular, timely communication reminding them of the importance of an eye health check.
All of us need to work together and with the Government to make this possible
Ophthalmologists and optometrists are encouraged to support the initiative by registering their practice and registering patients who have diabetes.
In a statement issued on World Sight Day 2020 Professor Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia said, “The theme for this year’s World Sight Day is Hope in Sight and it’s all about doing what we can to end preventable blindness”.
“That’s why we are pleased that the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists has renewed its commitment to supporting KeepSight by making the program a key focus of World Sight Day.
“Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working age Australians, but we can change this.
“Diabetes is a complex condition and people with diabetes need to have many regular health checks to manage their condition. It can be time-consuming and sometimes eye examinations get overlooked.”
Professor Nitin Verma, incoming President of RANZCO, highlighted the importance of early detection.
“Great strides have been made in the detection and treatment of diabetes-related eye disease. There are many new drugs, lasers and surgical techniques that used individually or in combination can produce miraculous results in patients with diabetes-related eye disease,” said Professor Verma.
“Sixteen years ago, we could never have dreamt of such ‘miracles’. Like all interventions, they work best in early disease. The basic rule: Early Diagnosis; Prompt Therapy leads to Good Results could never be more appropriate than in this situation.
“If the damage is detected before sight is affected, treatment can prevent vision loss. When the vision has already been lost, treatment is more complicated. Even with the new drugs and surgical treatments, it could take considerably more time to restore the vision and, in some cases, only stop it from getting worse,” added Professor Verma.
RANZCO guidelines for screening and treatment are revised every few years for use in regular practice but on top of this Prof Verma says, “To prevent blindness from diabetes, there is a pressing need for a national program for the early detection of diabetes-related eye disease. All of us need to work together and with the Government to make this possible”.
KeepSight’s timely electronic alerts and reminders are aimed at increasing the numbers of people with diabetes accessing eye checks. The aim is to ensure every person with diabetes gets timely and appropriate eye examinations. That is the real key to preventing avoidable vision loss.