More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 4 don't know they have it. Doctors of optometry are often the first to detect the tell-tale signs, making it crucial to start the conversation about diabetes with patients.
November is the national diabetes observance month, dedicated to increasing Americans' awareness of a leading public health concern while also promoting a healthy lifestyle. There are numerous ways to capitalize on the open dialogue this month—and year round—and AOA offers the right tools for the job.
AOA diabetes guideline receives distinguished public health award
AOA's first evidence-based clinical practice guideline, Eye Care of the Patient with Diabetes Mellitus—Second Edition (updated 2019) , was recently honored with the American Public Health Association's (APHA) Vision Care Section Outstanding Scientific Paper (Project) Award for 2015. The award recognizes an individual, group or institution that has contributed significantly to the advancement of eye/vision care in the public health field. The guideline, which can be publicly accessed online, offers evidence-based guidance to assist in patient care decisions, but also reaffirms optometry's vital role in the multidisciplinary fight against diabetes.
The guideline represents two and a half years of research and work—with more than 230 academic articles cited—by the AOA Evidence-Based Optometry (EBO) Committee, and over 2,000 hours of optometric volunteer time. The committee adopted a new process set forth in 2011 by the Institute of Medicine, now called the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, to better reflect a shifting health care environment—one in which evidence and outcomes affect everything from care to reimbursement. The new process includes numerous reviewers from multiple disciplines and strict criteria for determining what research is included. The AOA Board of Trustees recently presented the EBO Committee with the AOA Presidential Award, recognizing them for their hard work and dedication in writing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
In 2014, the guideline received national recognition when it was posted to the professionally recognized National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC), a database of clinical guidelines maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Guidelines must meet stringent standards to be accepted, and must provide evidence-based recommendations or action plans for patient care. Posting to the clearinghouse means the diabetes guideline is publicly available for other health care professionals, institutions and agencies to reference with knowledge that it has met NGC standards.
AOA's first evidence-based clinical practice guideline, Eye Care of the Patient with Diabetes Mellitus, was recently honored with the American Public Health Association's (APHA) Vision Care Section (VCS) Outstanding Scientific Paper (Project) Award for 2015. Diane Adamczyk, O.D., chair of the AOA's Evidence-Based Optometry Committee, accepts the award, presented by (from left) Janis Winters, O.D., VCS chair elect, Greg Wolfe, O.D., APHA Action Board, and John Crews, O.D., VCS chair.
Low Vision Awareness Month is a perfect opportunity to consider implementing such services in your practice and to ensure you have the right connections for necessary referrals to other doctors of optometry who provide this essential care.
Researchers found only about 30% of patients with diabetes abide by four diabetes care practices—including eye exams.