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The risks associated with diabetic retinopathy and pregnancy: CERA researcher awarded a grant from the Alfred Felton Bequest

Associate Professor Lyndell Lim and her team at the Centre for Eye Research Australia’s (CERA) Clinical Trials Research Centre have been awarded seed funding to assist in the creation of a retinopathy screening program and clinical database to improve the care of pregnant women with diabetic retinopathy.

Associate Professor Lyndell Lim

Associate Professor Lyndell Lim

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of legal blindness among people of reproductive age in developed countries such as Australia.

A/Prof Lim said she was delighted by the award from the Alfred Felton Bequest,  which supports the development of ideas and catalytic projects that have the potential to enhance the physical and emotional health of women, children and young people in Victoria.

“Although it is thought diabetic retinopathy is worsened by pregnancy, there are major gaps in our understanding,” A/Prof Lim said.

Australian guidelines recommend pregnant women with diabetes undertake a comprehensive eye check in their first trimester, but less than 50% take the check.

“Our project aims to improve the immediate access of pregnant diabetic patients to recommended eye-care to prevent the development of this sight-threatening disease. We are also aiming to address the knowledge gap about the effect of pregnancy on the disease so that improved treatments can be developed for this special group of patients,” A/Prof Lim said.

“The generous support from the Alfred Felton Bequest will allow us to progress our clinical research at CERA into optimal screening programs during pregnancy to allow critical early intervention. Behind every healthy child is a healthy mother,” A/Prof Lim said.