In Australia, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the working age population.
Even though Australia has world-class optometry and ophthalmology services, and a funded healthcare system, too many patients with diabetes are losing their sight because they are waiting until they are symptomatic to present to a healthcare professional, at which time their disease can be fairly advanced and difficult to treat.
Of the 1.3 million people in Australia registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), it is estimated that more than 600,000 Australians with diabetes are not accessing recommended eye tests for early detection of diabetic retinopathy.
KeepSight is a reminder program that aims to reduce the toll of diabetes related vision loss in the population by ensuring all people with diabetes access their recommended eye tests.
It is a coordinated, national initiative which utilises and leverages a registry approach using the NDSS. It has been developed as a public awareness and recall program and aims to inform and encourage people living with diabetes to attend for routine eye tests while maintaining a record of their last attendance.
For people with diabetes who currently see a health professional, KeepSight is designed to complement the advice given by GPs and optometrists, and for those who are not under regular care, it is designed to provide relevant information to prompt them to see an optometrist.
KeepSight represents a unified approach to combatting diabetes-related vision loss and blindness in Australia, made possible due to a coordinated group effort led by Diabetes Australia together with the Australian Government Department of Health, Specsavers, CERA, Bayer, Novartis, Mylan, Oculo, Vision 2020, RANZCO, Optometry Australia, Orthoptics Australia, Australian Diabetes Society and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association.
KeepSight shows that as an industry, we can and must address this problem whilst understanding that any robust solution will involve a long-term commitment from all who contribute – KeepSight focuses on the next 5- 10 years and success of the program is contingent on optometrists across Australia registering all patients with diabetes to KeepSight.
There are two avenues for patients to be registered with KeepSight:
The pathway that has had the strongest uptake is for optometrists to register a patient visit with KeepSight as part of any referral or routine eye report for patients with diabetes.
Patients and other health providers are also able to register a visit via the KeepSight website
Once registered, patients are systematically notified by Diabetes Australia to attend their recommended diabetes eye tests on a timely basis. This is an additional failsafe recall to support any notifications they receive direct from their eyecare provider.