Celebrating the enduring impact of a Vision 2020 Australia-funded program of PhD research

By Dr Amelia Lake

Vision 2020 Australia’s strategic goals include supporting activities that increase the evidence base for effective eye health and vision care, collaboration with stakeholders, and development of partnerships which increase awareness of eye health and enable integration with other key sectors.  On the eve of the 12 month anniversary of KeepSight, we highlight the enduring impact of a Vision 2020 Australia-funded program of research. The research, known as the Diabetes and Eye Health project, commenced in 2012 and aimed to increase uptake of eye checks for people living with diabetes. Amelia Lake (The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes, a partnership between Diabetes Victoria and Deakin University) managed the project as a program of PhD research. In collaboration with leading diabetes and eye health stakeholders (Diabetes Victoria, Centre for Eye Research Australia), the project team developed and evaluated two eye health resources for people living with type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes and Eye Health project further developed the evidence base around eye screening in Australia by examining the barriers and enablers of screening uptake (with a a particular emphasis on the emerging group of younger adults with type 2 diabetes). The project offered timely insights for the KeepSight program. Other enduring outputs include two eye health leaflets (distributed to more than 70,000 Victorians via the Vision Initiative), and a range of high quality peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations, documenting the study methods and findings. The work has been recognised internationally with: the award of Dr Lake’s PhD by publication; the inclusion of a case study in the Compendium of Good practices in Diabetes and Eye Health; an invited presentation by Dr Lake at the Royal Society of Medicine (UK); winner of the 2019 Science Award by the PsychoSocial Aspects of Diabetes Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes; and a recent academic visit to leading diabetes and eye health stakeholders in the UK and Ireland.

This article was published in the Vision Initiative online newsletter.

*KeepSight funding has been renewed to the tune of $1.5 million this week 

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