Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Australian Federal Parliament members had their eyes examined on World Diabetes Day in order to raise awareness of diabetes related eye damage.
More that 25 politicians were involved in the tests, which used a special camera that photographs the retina to enable the early detection of diabetes related damage to the eyes.
The event was co-sponsored by two parliamentary ‘friend’ groups; the Diabetes group co-chaired by Mr Rowan Ramsay and Mr Graham Perrett, and the Eye Health and Vision Care group co-chaired by Ms Amanda Rishworth and, eye specialist, Dr Andrew Laming.
According to Diabetes Australia CEO, Associate Professor Greg Johnson, around 165,000 Australians with diabetes have damage to their retina and may develop diabetic macular oedema (DME), which is the most common cause of vision loss. DME is reportedly on the increase.
Assoc Prof Johnson congratulated the Federal Minister for Health Ms Sussan Ley on a new Medicare initiative that will show an increase in the number of Australians with diabetes undergoing eye examinations.
He also called for a national diabetes blindness prevention initiative to help reduce the number of people who go blind unnecessarily.
“[The initiative] would integrate the use of retinal photography for screening and better connect the capacity in general practice, optometry and ophthalmology services in Australia, with primary health networks taking the lead in coordination,” Assoc Prof Johnson said.
He added, “lack of coordination continues to pose a major barrier.”
Vision 2020 Australia CEO Ms Carla Northam believes substantial progress could be made by utilising new technology and encouraging regular eye examinations.
“One in three people with diabetes have a diabetes-related eye disease yet we know from the National Eye Health Survey that half [the population] of Indigenous Australians and a quarter of non-Indigenous Australians are not having an eye examination at the frequency recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council,” Ms Northam said. ...read more