In a recent poll of 1,049 Australians aged between 50 and 70 commissioned by Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA), only 29% of people had heard of diabetic retinopathy (DR), the most common diabetes-related eye complication. If left undetected, DR can cause vision loss.
MDFA CEO Dee Hopkins expressed her deep concern at the lack of knowledge of retinopathy, particularly given it is manageable and reversible if detected early. This means that vision loss can be repaired and prevented.
“We do know that early action can save sight. It is crucial that everyone over 50 – and everyone diagnosed with diabetes – has regular eye checks with their eye health professional to detect any changes to the eye early.”
“We want people to not only understand the name of the disease, but we also want everyone to take action to avoid its devastating outcome” MDFA Ambassador and Adelaide ophthalmologist Dr James Muecke AM commented.
“This is easily done through regular eye examinations and managing your diabetes. When [retinopathy] is picked up early, you can make lifestyle changes and access good treatments that maintain sight and prevent severe vision loss” Dr Muecke says.
This month, MDFA’s annual Macula Month awareness campaign will urge even more Australians to book an eye exam through the Check My Macula tool.
“One minute. Five questions and you’re done. You can learn about your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic eye disease whether you’re on a phone or computer, sitting on the bus or waiting in a queue” Ms Hopkins says.
Diabetes WA aims to support people living with diabetes to self-manage their condition. The type 2 self-management programs, DESMOND and Aboriginal DESMOND (DESY), raise awareness of such complications and empower people to take steps to reduce their risk.
For people with type 1 diabetes, Diabetes WA runs series of webinars for long term health, in addition to self-management workshops. Diabetes WA workshops and webinars are provided FREE to NDSS registrants and Diabetes WA members. Click here to find your closest free workshop in your local area.
You can read the full media release here.