VSP Eye on Diabetes

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO December 15, 2011

Diabetes affects nearly 26 million people in the United States. Of this group, it is estimated that fully one third of diabetics are undiagnosed. Throw in an additional 79 million in the prediabetes risk category and you get a good idea about the breadth of this disease. And, as every eye doctor fully understands, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness.

Optometry has risen to the occasion in diabetes management providing excellence in patient care and education. Our abilities to evaluate the patient with diabetes, explain our findings, and communicate with the primary care physician are making a difference in compliance and outcomes. Patients respond very favorably to a visual demonstration of blood vessel integrity as demonstrated via new photographic technology. In addition, since as many as 30% of patients with diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy at the time of diagnosis, monitoring for change over time has become an important factor in diabetes management.

The VSP® Eye on Diabetes campaign provides community-based care and education about the important link between eyecare and overall health. Launched in 2010, these capital city stops are raising public awareness about the importance of regular optometric care and its critical importance in diabetes. As part of this program, VSP Mobile Eyes® has teamed up with state optometric associations, charitable organizations, and local VSP doctors to deliver information and care to low-income, uninsured adults and children. In addition, more than 550 doctors have participated in free COPE-approved continuing education on diabetes from nationally recognized speakers.

As I see it, optometry is making a big difference in the care of the patient with diabetes. VSP is also doing a great job by increasing public awareness about this difficult disease and by highlighting the excellent VSP doctors and their clinical expertise. I encourage you to go to vspeyeondiabetes.com for information about the 2012 continuing education schedule, which will be posted soon.


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