Professor Alex Brown, from the Aboriginal Health Equity Theme, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.
Diabetes can damage the small blood vessels of the eye, causing leakage of fluid at the macula, that part of the eye responsible for detailed central vision.
Aboriginal Australians experience much high rates of this macula leaking and swelling than non-Aboriginal people. Diabetes-related vision loss is estimated to be approximately five times higher among Indigenous Australian people when compared to other Australians.
Professor Alex Brown’s study aims to try to find out why.
The study has been allocated $234 000 from the MDFA’s Research Grants Program over three years.
Professor Brown’s study will look at all aspects of health and diabetes, including the social, clinical, and medical. The project will also follow people with diabetes for four-to-five years. They hope to be able to predict who will go on to suffer from blindness from diabetic eye disease. Ultimately, these findings of new factors and their ability to tell us who will do well (or poorly) is important to initiate steps in reducing the human and societal costs of blindness.
Professor Brown’s project is called Defining the Risk and Epidemiology of Aboriginal Australian Macular Disease: The DREAM project.