CERA named in significant Australian funding announcement for diabetes research
The Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) received two grants from Diabetes Australia to fund vital new research to prevent thousands of Australians going blind as the result of diabetes.
The grant announcement coincides with World Diabetes Day, Friday 14 November. Over a quarter of people with type 2 diabetes have diabetic retinopathy (DR), the major cause of preventable blindness and vision loss in Australia.
The prestigious Millennium Type 2 Diabetes Grant was awarded to Dr Gwyneth Rees, Principal Investigator of Behavioural Research in Ophthalmology.
Dr Rees and her colleagues will use the grant to trial a new personalised eye consultation for people with diabetes and early stage eye damage who are struggling to manage their blood glucose levels. The aim is to encourage patients to make lifestyle changes to better manage their diabetes and maintain vision.
A grant was also given to Dr Lyndell Lim, Principal Investigator, Clinical Trials, to test new treatments to improve the outcomes for people with DR undergoing cataract surgery.
Cataract, a common, age-related clouding of the lens causing vision loss, occurs more frequently and at an earlier age in people with diabetes. The outcome of cataract surgery is often poor for people with DR due to the rapid progression of their DR after surgery. Consequently, cataract surgery for people with DR is usually delayed, sometimes indefinitely, which results in significant visual impairment.
Dr Lim and her team will study the results of cataract surgery undertaken on patients with DR when combined with new drug treatments. Dr Lim’s research has the potential to change the way patients with both eye diseases are treated and give these people a real chance of gaining vision after surgery.
Craig Bennett, Diabetes Australia – Vic Chief Executive Officer, said the allocation of grants this year is the largest-ever funding towards diabetes research in Australia.
“Researchers receiving the 2015 Diabetes Australia grants are doing some of the most important work in Australia right now, as diabetes becomes the number one burden of disease in this country within the next five years.”