Macular Disease Foundation Australia today voiced its concern regarding the economic impact of diabetic macular oedema (DME) in Australia.
A Deloitte Access Economics report released today estimates 72,000 Australians are living with DME, a serious eye disease caused by diabetes, which can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness.
The stark reality is that the number of people at risk of blindness from DME will grow dramatically in coming years. In fact, the report estimates that in the next 15 years the numbers will rise to 102,000 people. That's 102,000 people at risk of blindness.
The entire indirect financial and wellbeing costs associated with DME are set to amount to approximately $2.07 billion in 2015.
The report shows that the workforce will be hit hard. Of this approximately $570 million is due to productivity losses from lower workforce participation, absenteeism and premature death.
Julie Heraghty, Chief Executive Officer of Macular Disease Foundation Australia, said the economic cost is high but there is also a huge emotional cost to the individual, their family and carers.
Diabetes and its complications, including diabetic macular oedema is one of today’s biggest public health challenges. The increasing numbers are of major concern to the Foundation.
Also of concern, is that only half of those living with diabetes undergo the recommended two-yearly eye examination, even though early detection and timely treatment can prevent vision loss.
Everyone with diabetes is at risk of diabetic eye disease. It's critical to have an eye test when you're first diagnosed with diabetes, and then at least every 2 years after that or more frequently if advised by your eye care professional.
It's so important to maintain regular eye tests as the risk of DME actually increases over time, even if managing diabetes well.
Order a free information kit on diabetic eye disease here or call Macular Disease Foundation Australia's free Helpline: 1800 111 709.
To read the full report: The economic impact of diabetic macular oedema in Australia, click here.
28 April 2015