Prof Hugh R Taylor
Although the global numbers of people who are blind have shown a very modest increase from1990 to 2010, the prevalence of blindness in those aged over 50 has been more than halved. Thisis excellent news, although still much work needs to be done to address cataract and refractiveerror. However, diabetic eye disease presents an ever-increasing problem. Globally there areover 350 million people with diabetes and that number is predicted to double within 20 years.The provision of the needed annual exams and laser treatment is beyond the capacity of theworld’s 205,000 ophthalmologists. The International Council of Ophthalmology is promotingthe development of ophthalmologist lead teams to expand the capacity to provide eye care.Within in Australia we too face challenges; only 50% of those with diabetes have had therecommended eye exam and this falls to 20% for Indigenous people with diabetes. We havemuch work to do to develop the systems needed to address this. It is important to rememberthat in 1990 we already had the knowledge and technology to prevent 98% of diabeticblindness. We need to apply what we know how to do.