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Diabetes prevention will help save sight

MEDIA RELEASE

Vision 2020 Australia welcomes a new report urging the Government to invest in the prevention of chronic diseases, including diabetes.

An estimated 1.7 million Australians are living with diabetes, with an additional 280 people developing diabetes every day. This figure is predicted to grow to 2.45 million by 2030.

What’s more, one in three people with diabetes have a related eye disease, and conditions such as diabetic retinopathy are a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in working-age Australians.

It is worrying, however, that the economic report from Prevention 1st, Preventative health: How much does Australia spend and is it enough?, has found Australia’s preventative health investment is poor in comparison to other OECD nations – ranking 16th out of 31 countries.

Carla Northam, CEO of Vision 2020 Australia, says: ‘Investment in preventative health makes strong economic and social sense.

‘Ninety-eight per cent of severe vision loss from diabetes can be avoided with early detection, yet we know half of Indigenous Australians and one-quarter of non-Indigenous Australians with diabetes are not having eye examinations at the recommended frequency.

‘Vision 2020 Australia is calling on the Australian Government to fund a national Diabetes Blindness Prevention Initiative, which will help to improve coordination of service delivery, ultimately reducing the number of people who are needlessly blind.’

ENDS

For more information: Adam Sawell at Vision 2020 Australia

03 9656 2020, 0401 096 507 or asawell@vision2020australia.org.au

About Vision 2020 Australia

As the national peak body for the eye health and vision care sector, Vision 2020 Australia represents almost 50 member organisations involved in local and global eye care, health promotion, low vision support, vision rehabilitation, eye research, professional assistance, and community support. Established in October 2000, Vision 2020 Australia is part of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a global initiative of the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.

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