Registrations with eye check reminder program KeepSight have surpassed 80,000, with enrolment rates now on the rise after dropping during the initial peak of the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Monday 20 July, Diabetes Australia confirmed to Insight that 81,900 people are registered with the scheme, which was officially unveiled by Federal Health Minister Mr Greg Hunt in October 2018 and formally launched to the public in March 2019.
There are also 4,000 eyecare professionals now registered with the program, which has been described as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to capture the 630,000 people with diabetes who skip regular eye checks each year. Overall, 1.8 million Australians have diabetes.
A Diabetes Australia spokesperson said KeepSight registrations are rising every week, particularly as COVID-19 restrictions lift in most states and people start to return to their normal routines.
“Importantly, this means people with diabetes are resuming their regular health checks including eye checks,” the spokesperson said.
“There was a dip in KeepSight registrations from March to June as many eyecare providers were only able to provide urgent care. Registration numbers are now back on track with earlier projections.”
KeepSight sends regular reminders to people with diabetes when they are due to have their eyes checked, and acts as a national register to identify those who are having regular examinations, as well as the people who aren’t. This enables Diabetes Australia to target its message to people who are not getting regular eye checks.
“The reality is that a regular diabetes eye check is the best way to ensure problems are identified early so they can be treated early,” Ms Taryn Black, national policy and program director at Diabetes Australia, said.
“People with diabetes have many regular health checks they need and often diabetes eye checks are put off, or forgotten about, because there are more pressing health issues to address.”
KeepSight has widespread support from leading diabetes and eye health groups and is funded by the Australian Government, Spescavers, Bayer and Novartis. Program partners include Diabetes Australia, Vision 2020 Australia and the Centre for Eye Research Australia.
The UK implemented a similar program and, for the first time in 50 years, diabetes is no longer the leading cause of blindness in working age adults there.