For National Diabetes Week, Specsavers Australia New Zealand’s Director of Optometry, Dr Ben Ashby shares his vision for how Specsavers will continue to support KeepSight in the coming years.

The burden of avoidable vision loss and blindness due to diabetes primarily affects the 50% of people with the disease who do not get regular eye checks. The fact that more than 90% of vision loss from diabetes is avoidable through regular eye checks is the reason why Specsavers has been a committed supporter of KeepSight since its beginning.

Committed to funding $1 million per year for the program’s first five years, Specsavers has also invested in developing and adopting a range of systems and processes across our network of practices. These have assisted our Specsavers optometrists to register more than 400,000 appointments (initial and follow up), making us the largest referrer to date.

Looking to the years ahead, Specsavers’ commitment remains unwavering and will be focussed on:

  • Continuing to connect all consenting patients and appointments seamlessly to the program;
  • Supporting Diabetes Australia to enhance KeepSight’s recall strategy, ensuring that the program is coordinated with other recall messages and as effective as possible at engaging with patients, resulting in an increase in patients attending follow up optometric care in a timely manner;
  • Supporting the development of a digital system that measures the progress of KeepSight against key program goals. While reporting on changes in eye health outcomes isn’t yet practical given it’s still early days, Specsavers shares it deidentified data to aid in the reporting of the program’s take up amongst people with diabetes. It also shares updates periodically on HealthHub.

KeepSight is an example of public and private organisations collaborating to address a major public health problem. The success of KeepSight to date shows the potential of such public-private collaboration and similar solutions could benefit countless Australians, addressing other public health problems in the future.