Strong support to avoid diabetes-related blindness at Parliamentary Friends Group event
Prominent parliamentarians including; Health Minister the Hon Sussan Ley MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services the Hon Jane Prentice MP, Shadow Minister for Health the Hon Catherine King MP and Senator Rachel Siewert, had their eyes checked at the ‘Eyes on Diabetes’ joint Parliamentary Friends Group event at Parliament House on Wednesday 23 November.
To mark World Diabetes Day, Diabetes Australia and Vision 2020 Australia joined together to raise awareness of the seriousness of diabetes-related eye disease. At the event, guests and parliamentarians had their eyes tested using a special camera which photographs the retina to enable early detection of diabetes-related damage to the eyes.
The event was co-sponsored by two Parliamentary Friends Groups – the Diabetes group co-chaired by Rowan Ramsay MP and Graham Perrett MP; and the Eye Health and Vision Care group co-chaired by Hon Amanda Rishworth MP and Dr Andrew Laming MP.
During the event, Minister Ley MP spoke about the importance of eye screening for people with diabetes and described how substantial progress can be made by utilising new technology to detect early signs of diabetes-related eyes diseases.
At least 165,000 Australians with diabetes have damage to the retina in their eye (retinopathy) and many develop diabetic macular oedema. In Australia, diabetes is a leading cause of preventable eye damage and blindness.
At the event, the message was clear- 98 per cent of severe loss of vision from diabetes can be avoided if detected early.