To date, Specsavers optometrists have sent more than 600,000 patient registrations to KeepSight – flagging both initial appointments and follow up appointments for the ~80% of patients with diabetes who give consent for the registration to occur. We’re very proud of our optometrists and wider team for their work in getting to this enviable point.

Despite success to date, ~20% of the patients with diabetes that our optometrists care for are not registered to KeepSight and we are beginning to see differences in outcomes for these patients compared to those registered to KeepSight. For example, since 2019, a comparison of those who were registered to KeepSight versus those who weren’t for a representative sample of patients from across Australia saw that the average number of appointments per patient since 2019 was 2.6 for non-registered patients with diabetes and 3 for KeepSight registered patients. On top of that, recall response rates for our KeepSight-registered patients with diabetes have shown to be markedly higher than those who opted out of registration. This shows that patients registered with KeepSight access eyecare in a more timely and regular manner than other patients with diabetes.

Meanwhile since January 2019, specialist referral rates have been in line with industry standards with our optometrists referring 8% of patients with diabetes for specialist care. Despite our volume of comprehensive eye tests for patients with diabetes increasing, these rates have remained steady, showing that our optometrists are detecting abnormalities and referring for treatment as clinically indicated, giving us a baseline.

KeepSight was designed with long-term aims, and the full benefits of the program will be seen in the coming 5-10 years. As patients in the program continue to access eyecare more regularly, we will see improvements in their long-term vision outcomes. It seems obvious, however, that the program is already having success in ensuring high rates of recall adherence and review appointment attendance by patients with diabetes, laying the groundwork for clinical success for the future.

Changing behaviours and improving long-term health outcomes for this cohort of patients is not something that will happen overnight, but we are proud to partner with Diabetes Australia and be at the forefront of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to end avoidable blindness to diabetes.