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As primary eye care providers, our patients will often ask us what they can do for optimal ocular health. Many times our patients are interested in or are already supplementing with over-the-counter eye vitamins such as PreserVision or Ocuvite. While these antioxidant supplements are an excellent choice for most cases of early to moderate age-related macular degeneration, optometrists today are confronted with a lower hanging fruit known as type 2 diabetes that needs to be addressed among our patients. When patients suffer from obesity or metabolic dysfunction there’s really no way a supplement is going to be as effective as simply addressing the elephant in the room:

Resetting metabolism – the important balance between glucose and insulin

Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is currently one of the biggest threats to our healthcare system today. According to the American Diabetes Association, someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 21 seconds, affecting 30 million Americans, and sending annual health care costs over $320 billion. From a clinician’s perspective, helping patients optimize ocular and systemic health has become increasingly challenging due to this largely preventable disease. This pertains to us as optometrists since a large portion of all diabetics will develop some form of sight-threatening retinopathy over the course of their lifetime. T2DM (~95% of all diabetes) is the leading cause of new legal blindness in people 20-74 years of age. For optometrists, any and all patient-education measures that aim to prevent/reverse T2DM can be the most effective ways to maintain good ocular health.

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Kevin Cornwell
2015 NECO graduate, Zuni IHS residency 2016, currently working for MACT Health Board in NorCal.

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