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Up to half of Australians with diabetes don’t undergo regular eye checks

Dr Peter van Wijngaarden

Dr Peter van Wijngaarden

Amcal and Guardian pharmacies across Australia will spearhead an important health awareness campaign in partnership with the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) for people with diabetes to have more regular eye tests and consider a range of health checks to prevent eye disease that can lead to blindness.

“Currently, over one million Australians have diabetes and this number is expected to double in the next 10 years, posing major public health and economic issues.”, said Dr Peter van Wijngaarden, Principal Investigator at CERA. “We are committed to developing an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable nation-wide diabetic eye screening system for all Australians to detect the early changes of eye disease and start treatment before significant vision loss occurs.”

Pharmacists will act as front line health partners to provide information to people with diabetes about lowering their risk of diabetic eye disease.

“Up to 50% of Australians with diabetes don’t undergo regular eye checks. That’s a staggering figure given that we know regular diabetic eye check-ups and timely treatment can prevent most vision loss from this condition,’’ said Gary Dunne, Sigma’s Chief Operating Officer.

“Our pharmacists know they can reach out to their patients in a trusting and professional manner with information provided by CERA about the importance of eye tests to prevent eye disease and ensuring they also look after their general health,’’ he said.

Amcal and Guardian pharmacists will present patients with a structured plan to help prevent diabetes related vision loss:

•    The importance of healthy eating
•    The need for regular exercising
•    The critical role played by blood pressure control
•    The need for everyone with diabetes to keep track of their glucose (sugar) levels; and
•    The critical need to have regular eye checks and timely treatment to prevent sight-threatening diabetic eye disease.

View video of Channel 10 news story: Dr Peter van Wijngaarden talks about the importance of diabetes eye disease checks