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Telemedicine and Diabetes: The role physicians play with diabetic eye health

diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy, telemedicine and diabetes

Primary care providers are often the first line of defense in ensuring those with diabetes get timely care for their eyes, according to physicians in the presentation “Diabetic Retinopathy: Role of the Primary Care Provider in the Optimal Care Model – Strategies for Prevention and Risk Reduction,” a CME video for the education summit DiabetesSeriesLive.

Paolo S. Silva, MD, Assistant Chief of Telemedicine at the Beetham Eye Institute, Jerry D. Cavallerano, OD, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Joslin Diabetes Center, and Richard Beaser, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School provide an overview of diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye diseases as well as the latest innovative treatments in the research field. By watching this video, primary care providers and other medical professionals can learn additional steps to enhance the ophthalmological care they provide for their patients with diabetes.

Minimize Risks for Diabetic Retinopathy

A primary care provider can manage the risk and minimize the onset of diabetic retinopathy by addressing common co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, kidney disease, and obesity.

In the video, the presenters make recommendations for the appropriate timing of eye exams for those with diabetes and specifically, women diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Managing these conditions and encouraging regular eye exams can have significant effects on managing the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. According to Dr. Cavallerano, a 1 percent A1C decrease results in a 35 to 40 percent decreased risk of the progression of diabetic retinopathy.  Dr. Cavallerano discusses what risk factors doctors can look for by reviewing patient medical history and specific test results.

Innovative Treatments Provide Results for Those With Diabetic Retinopathy

Dr. Silva discusses updated diabetic retinopathy treatment options in the video to help healthcare providers gain a stronger understanding of available care options. Examples include early scatter laser photocoagulation and anti-VEGF injections. The presenters discuss studies on the success of anti-VEGF injections.

“Based on the studies we have discussed today, the risks for visual loss can be reduced to less than 5 percent,” Dr. Silva says.

Ophthalmologists Use Telemedicine to Bridge Gaps in Availability

A challenge to caring for those with diabetes and diabetic retinopathy is access to ophthalmologists. Dr. Silva points out, “There’s a growing number of patients with diabetes but the number of ophthalmologists or eye care providers is very limited”.

In the video presentation, the presenters share several suggestions for how primary care providers and eye care professionals can work together for the benefit of their patients. They touch upon some innovative ideas due to advances in technology and digital medicine.

“What I want to stress is the multi-disciplinary approach to diabetes care and diabetes eye care,” Dr. Silva explains. “It really entails the collaboration between the eye doctors, the primary care doctors, to be able to communicate what these patients have, what the co-morbidities are, what the specific eye issues are, and how these need to be managed.”

For more information on diabetic eye health and to earn CME credits, view “Diabetic Retinopathy: Role of the Primary Care Provider in the Optimal Care Model – Strategies for Prevention and Risk Reduction on DiabetesSeriesLive.

Disclaimer: “All PlatformQ Health articles, reports, summaries, and recaps of events are for informational purposes only. The quotes and opinions of the speakers covered are not to be taken as direct advice for individual patients. Patients should always seek care from qualified, properly accredited healthcare professionals.”

This program has completed – for current and upcoming educational programs please visit DiabetesSeriesLive.

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