Diabetes Australia (DA) has joined forces with an Indigenous-run health organisation to promote the KeepSight eye check reminder program in the Darling Downs region of southern Queensland.
Carbal Medical Services in Toowoomba and Warwick will promote DA’s KeepSight initiative using locally developed, culturally appropriate resources to encourage local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have regular eye exams.
Indigenous Australians are almost four times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to be living with diabetes.
Carbal Medical Services’ CEO Mr Brian Hewitt said eye health may not typically be the first diabetes related problem that people accessing Carbal’s services consider.
“Diabetes eye checks can get overlooked easily when there are so many other aspects to managing our diabetes and health – but the good news is that vision loss from diabetes is preventable if acted on early,” he said.
“Regular checks are possibly the most important thing people can do to keep their eyes in good health.”
Hewitt said a partnership with DA would support improved eye health in First Nations people with diabetes across the region.
“Providing the best holistic care that we can means working across a range of health initiatives and this one is a great partnership that will help our mob to manage their diabetes eye health,” Hewitt said.
“There’s no need for a referral, visits to an optometrist are generally bulk-billed, and the diabetes eye check only takes about 30 minutes.”
Already more than 170,000 Australians with diabetes have joined KeepSight, which recently celebrated its two-year anniversary.
Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson was pleased to be working with Carbal to deliver diabetes eye health messages to First Nations people in the region.
“Every person with diabetes is at risk of eye damage, but most vision loss can be prevented with regular diabetes eye checks, early detection and early treatment,” Johnson said.
“But you can’t wait for signs or symptoms of eye problems because by the time symptoms occur the damage is done and treatments are less effective. That is why regular diabetes eye checks are so important – so that any problems can be found early, before the damage is significant, and when treatment is easier and more effective.