Optometrists Unite in the Fight Against Diabetes-Related Blindness 14 June 2023 It is the fourth anniversary of the KeepSight program this year and the important work that has been accomplished to date would not have been possible without the support of the optometry sector. KeepSight is Diabetes Australia’s initiative to reduce the prevalence of vision loss and blindness amongst people with diabetes. With the support of the eye care sector, the program encourages people with diabetes to sign up to KeepSight to receive a reminder when their diabetes eye check is due. To celebrate the anniversary, Diabetes Australia sat down with nine optometrists to hear their stories and why they think KeepSight is important. Specsavers Babara Vermeulen Specsavers – Victor Harbor SA “KeepSight is a perfect example of optometrists putting their patients first and doing all they can to protect their sight and prevent vision loss that could have been avoided. As an optometrist who cares deeply about early intervention and looking after my patients, I am proud to support KeepSight and recommend it to all of my patients with diabetes.” Greeshma Patel Specsavers – Sydney NSW “As an optometrist who has seen the impact of diabetes related vision loss in my own family, I am very aware of how devastating and sudden these complications can be. There are many appointments involved in managing diabetes with various health care professionals. This means that you may lose track of time between eye examinations. We know that regular eye tests are important to detect early signs of diabetes related eye disease. KeepSight is a simple way to set a reminder for my patients, to ensure they don’t miss these vital checks.” Suren Naidoo Specsavers – Dapto NSW “Changes in the healthcare industry in recent years, especially during and post-COVID, have resulted in patients missing critical healthcare appointments. This is sometimes due to financial constraints, or just because they don’t perceive that they are having any issues with their diabetes or their vision. As a Specsavers optometrist, having an initiative like KeepSight at my disposal gives me a lot more peace of mind that my patients with diabetes will receive timely reminders to keep up their regular appointments, and also provides a reliable educational diabetes resource for them. In my opinion, this pushes us several steps forward in the fight to eliminate diabetes as the leading cause of preventable vision loss in Australia.” The Optical Company Jack Ma The Optical Co – Rutherford NSW “The rising prevalence of diabetes places a great burden on our healthcare system. I joined KeepSight as it is a great initiative to allow optometrists the opportunity to fully utilize our scope of practice, and help reduce some of that burden placed on our GPs and specialists, as well as our patients, who are required to attend many appointments. Ultimately, this will improve health outcomes for our population living with diabetes.” Richard Shaw The Optical Co – Sydney NSW “I joined KeepSight because I think it is a great initiate to help improve the visual outcomes of our patients living with diabetes. It is another tool in our arsenal in the fight against diabetic retinopathy and the permanent vision loss associated with it.” Sarah Park The Optical Co – Sydney NSW “KeepSight is a great way to ensure quality eyecare for patients with diabetes. The program allows optometrists to keep a closer relationship with patients with diabetes, helping them ensure they get timely eye health checks to maintain optimal eye health and prevent vision loss related to diabetes.” Bailey Nelson Nino Mistry Bailey Nelson – Pacific Fair, Gold Coast QLD “I always think of the saying that ‘the world looks a lot brighter through healthier eyes’ and guide my work with this motto. As an optometrist, I seek out opportunities where I can contribute to supporting my patients to maintain good eye health. KeepSight offers another tool for me to do that. It helps me keep an eye on my patients’ eye health and gives that additional tool to support their diabetes management journey.” Sarah Golfis Bailey Nelson – Claremote, Perth WA “As an optometrist, I have seen the devastating long-term effects of poorly controlled diabetes on people’s vision. More often than not, a lot of this could have been prevented or detected earlier with regular eye examinations. When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget when you are due for appointments. KeepSight reminds people with diabetes about getting their annual eye exam. I believe it is so important to empower people with diabetes to understand their condition and be involved in their care.” Shalini Nanayakkara Bailey Nelson – Charlestown, Newcastle NSW “Diabetes is a multifactorial condition placing pressure on a patient to make thousands of decisions in a single day. KeepSight focuses on regular reminders and wide scale population screening to relieve this pressure and ensure those living remotely are never left out. They have increased opportunities for early detection by linking optometrists to GPs, endocrinologists and diabetes educators in team care arrangements. In doing so, they significantly reduce the public health burden. Having worked regionally, and as an advocate for preventative and holistic care, I view KeepSight as integral to patient management.” Thank you to the more than 1,100 optometrists who have joined KeepSight – Diabetes Australia’s national diabetes eye check reminder program. With your help we are making it easy for people with diabetes to receive regular reminders when their diabetes eye check is due. We know that diabetes can cause blindness, but 98% is preventable with early detection. is the support of the optometry sector is a key contributor to the incredible success of KeepSight over the last four years. Thank you to all the KeepSight optometrists for uniting with us in the fight against diabetes-related eye complications.