Discussing a patient’s body weight during an eye exam may once have been considered a strange or unnecessary question. These patients might wonder, “What does my weight have to do with my eyes?” However, it’s a subject that many eyecare practitioners are now addressing. As obesity rates continue to rise, researchers are noticing more instances of eye disease and vision loss in overweight and obese patients.
The connection between obesity and vision loss lies within the many health issues associated with carrying extra weight, according to Kimberly Reed, OD, FAAO. Systemic conditions such as Type II diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia and carotid artery disease, Dr. Reed writes, can “pose [an] additional threat to the ocular and visual system in the form of diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy, vascular occlusive disease, optic neuropathy, glaucoma, and others.”
With this information at hand, it’s important to start discussions with patients on how maintaining a healthy weight can benefit their eyes. Take the time to, in a non-judgmental manner, talk about how achieving a healthier weight, as well as a healthier diet and regular exercise, can lead to a longer life and better overall health, as well as better ocular and visual health.
We all seem to have a few of those people on our holiday gift lists that seem impossible to shop for. It is highly likely that your patients have a few of these people on their holiday shopping lists, too. These individuals seem to have everything they could possibly want or need, making it difficult to give them a gift with meaning. Rather than buy these individuals more “stuff,” suggest that your patients take a cue from Europeans by gifting their loved ones with an optomap® this holiday season.
In many European countries, such as Germany, it is a common practice to give a gift that promotes health and wellness. While gym memberships and other similar gifts are thoughtful, there is always a chance that the recipient may only use it for a month or two before they stop going altogether. The gift of an optomap®, on the other hand, is a thoughtful gift that can be used to ensure the recipient’s eyes and vision are healthy.
As an added benefit, the gift of an optomap® can potentially save an individual’s vision, if not their life, as many systemic diseases and other issues that threaten one’s vision can be …
Optos and the AOA have collaborated on disease-related tools including diabetes education and resources for AOA member optometrists and their practices since 2008. This year, Optos sponsored a formal multi-year diabetes initiative focused on providing clinical education and resources to AOA members. The overall goal was to make the doctors aware that they are essential health care providers for patients with diabetes relating to their visual and retinal health. Through this sponsorship, AOA and Optos have provided a valuable resource to help AOA doctors increase patient awareness about the condition, facilitate early detection, and assist in disease management and treatment.
The supplement is called Optometrists Form Front Line in Battling Diabetes and it can be found at http://www.aoa.org/diabetes.