Optometrists play a vital role in comanaging diabetes patients due in part to the disease’s prevalence and associated cost, according to a study presented at the 2018 National Academies of Practice Annual Meeting & Forum in Atlanta.1

In the study, 23 optometrists recruited 95 non-compliant diabetes patients. Each patient took surveys prior to the study and again after six weeks in the program. Patients were given glucose monitoring systems and training on usage and educated on the importance of daily self-monitoring of blood glucose, in addition to encouragement to reconnect with their primary health care provider.

The researchers found more patients were engaged in monitoring their blood glucose after six weeks, and the number of patients who tested daily jumped by 100%. Approximately 17% re-engaged with their primary care provider, optometrist or other specialist. Additionally, 56% of subjects said they would “definitely continue” to use the meters provided by the study.

“The study demonstrated just how effective doctors of optometry can be in leveraging technology and their offices to improve diabetes care by as much as 100%, as measured by patient survey, among suboptimally controlled patients with diabetes, seeking care at their facilities,” the study’s authors said.

1. American Optometric Association. Study: Collaboration and bigger roles by doctors of optometry buttress care for diabetes patients. www.aoa.org/news/clinical-eye-care/diabetes-and-prediabetes. April 19, 2018. Accessed April 24, 2018.