Ready resources for diabetes care

Ready resources for diabetes care

Blindness proves to be a far more concerning side effect of diabetes than kidney failure and heart troubles combined, a new survey finds, yet the benefits of routine diabetic eye care were less recognized.

In fact, though 1 in 2 Americans were unaware that comprehensive eye examinations are the only way to categorically determine whether a patient's diabetes could result in blindness, 9 out of 10 affirmed that they would visit an eye doctor after learning this fact, according to AOA's just-released 2016 American Eye-Q® survey. Furthermore, more than half of respondents didn't know that comprehensive eye examinations could even detect the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.

In 2014 alone, eye doctors found diabetes-related manifestation in 240,000 patients who were not aware they had diabetes.

"In 2014 alone, eye doctors found diabetes-related manifestation in 240,000 patients who were not aware they had diabetes, leading to a prompt diagnosis and care, which minimizes the risk of complications," says AOA President Andrea P. Thau, O.D. "A comprehensive eye examination with a doctor of optometry is not only important to maintain eye and vision health, but also as a first line of diagnosis for many systemic diseases."  

November's American Diabetes Month® once again draws the nation's attention to the disease affecting 29 million Americans, in an attempt to create a sense of urgency about this growing public health crisis. Throughout the month, AOA is committed to educating the public about the relationship between diabetes and eye health. The American Eye-Q survey illustrates how simple awareness and education can prompt crucial action.  

Below are several resources AOA members may find useful during American Diabetes Month:

The AOA's diabetes clinical practice guideline. Eye Care of the Patient with Diabetes Mellitus, the AOA's first evidence-based clinical practice guideline, offers a clinical primer on the disease, prevention and diagnostic criteria, and also assists doctors in achieving prescribed objectives in diabetes-related care. The milestone guideline includes a cross-disciplinary review of hundreds of scientific papers and studies from top optometric experts and specialists, and adheres to a stringent evidence-based process that resulted in the guideline's acceptance to the National Guideline Clearinghouse.

COPE-approved, online continuing education. Learn the latest trends in diabetes clinical care with "Diabetes Nation: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?" sponsored by Optos. Presented by A. Paul Chous, O.D., optometric representative to the National Diabetes Education Program of the National Institutes of Health, the course focuses on the current state of diabetes in public health, strategies for prevention, updates for diagnosis and management, pointers on diabetic retinopathy and much more. Click here to access "Diabetes Nation" on AOA's online learning platform, EyeLearn.

AOA Diabetes Eye Examination Report. This revised and updated standard reporting form for diabetic eye examinations can be easily downloaded and implemented into clinical practice. An adaption of a form developed by the Ohio Optometric Association, the AOA Diabetes Eye Examination Report form promotes clear, concise communication among providers on a patient's diabetes care team. The content of this form should not be used to establish a standard of care, and patient care and treatment always should be based on a clinician's independent, professional judgement.

AOA Marketplace products. Beyond the clinical tools and resources available to members online, AOA Marketplace offers products specifically designed to help educate patients and the public.

  • Here are three products, discounted as part of doctors' AOA membership, that practices will find useful:
    Diabetic Retinopathy Chairside Tool. Developed by AOA's Health Promotions Committee, this 8 ½-by-11-inch laminated card contains ultra-wide images of the progression of diabetic retinopathy to help educate patients.

    Diabetes Health Card. This convenient card helps patients keep track of their basic tests and how often they are needed. It also helps patients record and remember results of tests that should be shared with their diabetes health care team.

    AOA Diabetes Health Fair Kit. Looking to capitalize on Diabetes Month attention during an upcoming community health fair? The AOA Diabetes Health Fair Kit includes all the pamphlets, posters, cards and prints to help members discuss the importance of good eye health related to diabetes.   

Look for the November/December edition of AOA Focus for more diabetes-related eye care information, including an exposé on optometry's evolving role in diabetes care.

November 7, 2016

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