This World Sight Day we celebrate international recognition of The ACBRD in prevention of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy

Supporting #EyeCareEverywhere

By Dr Amelia Lake

World Sight Day is an important day to raise awareness of blindness and vision impairment, much of which is preventable. In recognition of the increase in diabetes prevalence and risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, the Federal Government recently announced $5M funding to support a nationally coordinated diabetic retinopathy screening program. This is great news and ideally, Australia will emulate the position of the United Kingdom, which has had such a program running for 15 years. As a result, diabetic retinopathy is no longer the leading cause of blindness and vision loss for working-age adults in that country. 

The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes have been utilising our expertise to promote uptake of retinal screening for the early detection of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of vision loss for people living with diabetes. The Global Diabetic Retinopathy Advocacy Initiative (GDRAI), a multi-agency collaboration endorsed by the World Health Organisation, recently internationally recognised our work. GDRAI invited Dr Amelia Lake and Professor Jane Speight from The ACBRD to submit a case study, which described the development and evaluation of a retinal screening promotion resource, tailored to young adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D, aged 18-39 years) for inclusion in a compendium of best practice. Despite high risk of early onset of diabetes-related complications, including diabetic retinopathy, members of this priority population have low rates of retinal screening for the early detection of diabetic retinopathy and are at risk of early onset of the condition.  The GDRAI ‘Global Compendium of Good Practice in Integrated Care for Diabetes and Eye Health’ includes case studies from 17 countries around the world. The Compendium is freely available via the International Diabetes Federation website here. The two eye health and retinal screening promotion leaflets developed by The ACBRD can be downloaded here (young adults with T2D, aged 18-39 years) and here (older adults with T2D, aged 40+ years). To read more about our Vision 2020 Australia-funded research on eye health, check out our blogs on this topic.

In addition, Dr Amelia Lake is conducting separate presentations on the eye health leaflet development and evaluation processes at the upcoming International Congress of Behavioral Medicine (14-17 November) in Santiago, Chile. One of the presentations is a symposium alongside Professor Charles Abraham, a world leading scholar and practitioner in health behaviour change, titled ‘Developing and Evaluating Self-Directed Behaviour Change Interventions’. Visit to access resources and information, and check out #WorldSightDayAu or #EyeCareEverywhere.

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