An estimated 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes,1 and that number is expected to increase to nearly 40 million by 2030.2 Because optometrists are on the front lines of educating, diagnosing, and managing diabetic complications of the eye, it is imperative that we have a complete understanding of the tools available to evaluate patients with diabetes and that we make appropriate referrals when the disease is treatable.

This issue of Modern Optometry focuses on diabetic eye disease, a common condition that presents in every optometrist’s clinic. The hunt for diabetic retinopathy (DR) starts by discussing with patients the importance of a dilated retinal examination and explaining why this examination is imperative in the diagnosis of DR. Familiar technologies such as retinal photography and fluorescein angiography continue to provide useful information to detect and differentiate macular edema from neovascularization from intraretinal microvascular abnormalities, and to examine for retinal nonperfusion. The new technology of OCT angiography offers practitioners a noninvasive way to image the retinal and choroidal vasculature and has the potential to replace or supplement findings from traditional imaging methods. With the plethora of technologies now available, optometrists can feel confident when classifying DR, educating their patients on the condition, and ultimately optimizing patient care.

Management of diabetic macular edema continues to evolve. Intravitreal anti-VEGF injections can stabilize and improve vision over time, giving patients a chance for rehabilitated vision. Additionally, new steroid formulations provide a treatment option for patients who do not respond sufficiently to anti-VEGF therapy. All of these advances can lead to improvements in patient outcomes, recovery, and quality of life, paving the way to a bright future for the treatment of diabetic eye disease.

This issue also includes articles on the management of ocular herpes simplex keratitis, the diagnosis of ocular cancer, effective communication with patients about ocular pathologies, and more.

For our readers who prefer to listen rather than read, Joshua Davidson, OD, suggests 10 podcasts from the eye care world that you should be listening to. And while we’re on the topic of podcasts, if you don’t have time to read through every issue of Modern Optometry (because, really, who does?), please subscribe to our podcast, The MOD Pod, wherever you get your podcasts, to hear selected articles as read by the authors themselves.

Thank you for taking a look at our June issue! We hope you will embrace the cover focus technologies and strategies shared by our authors for the management of patients with diabetes in your practice. Please contact us via email at modernOD@bmctoday.com with questions, comments, key takeaways, or best practices that you would like to share.

  • 1. New CDC report: more than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. July 18, 2017. www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html. Accessed May 22, 2019.
  • 2. Lin J, Thompson TJ, Cheng WJ, et al. Projection of the future diabetes burden in the United States through 2060. Popul Health Metr. 2018;16(1):9.