People with diabetes to benefit from eye screening and treatment listed on PBS

Wanneroo resident Alan Taylor with Pedro Dos Santos and Kamal Sagoo from Specsavers. Picture: Martin Kennealey d485597
Wanneroo resident Alan Taylor with Pedro Dos Santos and Kamal Sagoo from Specsavers. Picture: Martin Kennealey d485597

A NATIONAL diabetes eye screening program’s expansion to Hillarys has been welcomed by optometrists and patients.

Specsavers Whitford Optometrist Kamal Sagoo welcomed the program, announced by the Federal Government earlier this year, which tests that could reduce the number of people experiencing vision loss as a result of diabetes.

More than 15,200 people in the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo have diabetes, according to the optometrist chain.

The screening program created an interface between the National Diabetes Services Scheme database and Oculo, a cloud-based platform that connects eye care providers, to create a digital screening and early detection system.

The program received $1 million Federal funding in its first year, and Specsavers committed $1 million a year for five years.

Mr Sagoo said early detection was key, with more than one in three people with diabetes developing some form of eye disease in their lifetime and diabetes being the main cause of preventable blindness in Australia.

“Diabetic eye disease is one of the most common complications associated with diabetes but it can be easily managed if detected and treated early and almost all cases of sight-threatening diabetic eye disease are preventable,” he said.

“Most people with diabetes are unaware that their eyes can be affected and therefore aren’t getting their eyes tested regularly and obtaining timely treatment.”

Wanneroo resident Alan Taylor, who has diabetes, said was one of the first patients at the Hillarys optometrist to have tests for signs of eye problems caused by diabetes.

“It was part of the normal eye examination process,” he said.

“It’s good for early onset of any eye disease for people with diabetes.

“A lot of people are diagnosed with eye problems from diabetes but often they don’t catch them early enough.

Diabetes medication on PBS

THE Federal Government added a treatment for diabetes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) this month.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Ryzodeg was the first diabetes pen to contain two types of insulin.

“A basal insulin called insulin degludec, which has a long blood sugar lowering effect and a rapid-acting insulin called insulin aspart, which lowers blood sugar soon after you inject it,” he said.

“Patients would normally pay around $930 per year for Ryzodeg.”

Mr Hunt said the PBS listing meant patients would pay a maximum of $39.50 per script for the medication or $6.40 per script for concessional patients, including pensioners.

Senator Michaelia Cash said thousands of adults living with type 1 and 2 diabetes would be able to regulate their blood sugar levels with the August 1 listing of Ryzodeg.