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Call for diabetic patients to join study

CERA researchers are calling on people with diabetic retinopathy to join a study that aims to better understand the impact of the disease on a person’s lifestyle. image-tools (17)

Diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes, damages the blood vessels inside the retina at the back of the eye. If untreated it can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness. 

PhD student Eva Fenwick of CERA’s Health Services Unit said diabetic retinopathy can significantly impact a person’s participation in daily living and quality of life.

“Diabetic retinopathy can impact many aspects of a person’s life, from their ability to read the newspaper or drive a car, to negatively affecting their social life and causing emotional distress and worry,” Ms Fenwick said.

“While we know that vision loss from diabetic retinopathy affects day-to-day tasks and mobility, little is known about the impact it has on emotional and social well-being, work and finance, health concerns or convenience. This information is currently being collected by CERA researchers.”

“Through the study, we also aim to evaluate new preventative therapies from a patient’s perspective.”

Diabetic retinopathy is a growing health problem. In Australia, it’s estimated that around 300,000 Australians have some degree of diabetic retinopathy and around 65,000 have sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy.

According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should have an eye check every two years.

“Typical symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include patchy or blurred vision and difficulty in seeing things in the distance,” she said.

“But most people with the early stages of diabetic retinopathy don’t experience any systems, so regular eye tests for all diabetics are extremely important.”

Study information

  • All patients with diabetic retinopathy who are able to attend the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital are invited to join the study.
  • Participants will be required to complete a 45 minute questionnaire.  They will also receive a quick vision test including a scan of their retina. All participants will receive a meal and drink voucher.
  • Interested patients can call Eva on 9929 8363 or email fenwicke@unimelb.edu.au.