The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) Eye Foundation is once again holding its JulEYE campaign.
The campaign is aimed at Australians living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and asks them to get their eyes tested this month.
Nearly one million Australians are currently suffering from diabetes. If you're one of them, you have a much greater chance of developing some sort of eye disease or losing your vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy (damage to the retina due to complications of diabetes) is, in particular, the most common cause of vision loss and blindness amongst Australians suffering from the disease.
It is also an often overlooked one, said Jacinta Spurrett, chief executive officer of The RANZCO Eye Foundation, and that's why campaigns such as JulEYE are so important.
Around 98 per cent of the vision loss experienced by those with diabetes is actually preventable through regular treatment and management.
However, RANZCO revealed that almost 40 per cent of Australians who have diabetes do not get regular eye examinations, and one in three have never had their eyes tested.
In Australia, eye tests performed by optometrists are covered by Medicare. However, eye therapy, contact lenses and glasses are not.
Having Australian health insurance could help you to cover these expenses.
Mark Gillies, a specialist in emerging treatments for diabetic eye disease, said that people with diabetes often don't realise they have Diabetic Retinopathy because "it doesn't affect sight to start with".
"Retinopathy can become quite advanced in eyes with apparently normal vision – even in advanced cases, eyesight may be normal the day before sudden loss of vision occurs," explained Mr Gillies.
That is why regular eye tests are so important. Mr Gillies urges Australians not to wait until symptoms have appeared, as permanent eye damage can already have occurred by the time they do.
You should get an eye test as soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes and "at least every two years after," said Mr Gillies.
It's all about taking preemptive measures. Early detection and treatment is key, and could prevent over 90 per cent of those who lose their vision because of diabetes from doing so.
Organising health insurance is another preemptive measure you can take.
If you take out private health insurance before you actually require medical care or treatment, it could save you a lot of stress when you do.