Sponsored by VSP

By Deborah Kotob, ABOM

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 37.3 million Americans have diabetes, of which 8.5 million are undiagnosed. During a comprehensive eye exam, an eyecare provider can detect signs and complications from many diseases, including diabetes and eye disease from diabetes, such as diabetes-related retinopathy, diabetes-related macular edema and glaucoma, all of which can lead to vision loss or blindness. The CDC states that nearly 12 percent of adults with diabetes reported vision disability, including blindness. But early detection, treatment and follow-up care can reduce the risk of severe vision loss from diabetic eye disease by 95 percent, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI).

For these reasons, VSP Vision™ and the American Diabetes Association® began collaborating in 2019 to raise awareness of the impact of diabetes-related eye diseases and the crucial role yearly comprehensive and dilated eye exams play for early detection, intervention and prevention of eye disease and vision loss, from diabetes complications.

Doctors of Optometry have a critical role in creating a positive impact on the early detection, intervention and prevention of diabetic eye disease and vision loss. To support this work, VSP has created tools and information to support practices, including complimentary education resources from VSP Premier Edge™ Training and Education. These resources help practices provide the best possible care for their patients at risk for or living with diabetes.

In partnership with the ADA and Doctors of Optometry, Premier Edge Training and Education provides no-cost diabetes education for both VSP network doctors and staff, including on-demand eLearning courses and live webinars. Online diabetes education is available on-demand through the “Diabetes” module on mypremieredgetraining.com. Courses include relevant topics such as “Focus on Diabetes: An Overview for Optometrists” and “Focus on Diabetes: A Closer Look at Diabetes for Optometrists,” each of which provide one hour of a COPE-accredited CE credit. There are also quick 15-minute diabetes courses tailored specifically for practice staff. As part of this education, Premier Edge Training and Education offers all VSP network practices the opportunity to attain the ADA Badge. When a practice receives this badge, it is featured in the practice’s VSP Find a Doctor Directory listing on vsp.com, where thousands of members search for a provider each month. Practices receive a 42 percent increase in clicks to their website when they have the ADA badge. The badge highlights the practice for the patient by indicating the practice’s unique strengths, specialization and commitment to patient care. It communicates to members and potential members that this location is committed to connecting vision to overall health and wellness to those who are at risk or living with diabetes.

To receive the ADA Badge, practices must complete the following requirements:

  • Have retinal imaging equipment at their practice.
  • Complete the Essential Medical Eye Care eLearning course (601N) or watch the webinar (15 points).
  • The remaining 120 points are earned by completing courses within the Diabetes Module in the eLearning platform at mypremieredgetraining.com or attending diabetes education webinars (about 2.5 hours).

Hear from one of your peers: April Oliver, OD, how the ADA Badge displayed on her VSP.com Find a Doctor Directory listing helps her practice stand out: “Recently, a family of four drove 45 minutes out of their way past several of our competitors, to my practice for their eye exams. When I asked the mother what brought her all this way, she told me they found us through the VSP website, where they saw our ADA Badge. Having diabetes, she was concerned about her eye health and chose to get her diabetic eye exam from someone who demonstrated expertise in this area. That badge generated a family of patients for life, on top of the referrals we’ve already received from their friends and family.”

VSP Premier Edge is constantly evolving to support doctors in realizing their vision for long-term practice success. Based on feedback from network doctors, Premier Edge Training and Education was created as a key benefit to provide comprehensive business-building education and training tailored specifically to VSP network doctors and staff, and is committed to bringing added value to its ECP partnerships.

You’re invited to earn your own ADA Badge by attending the upcoming webinar sessions on Aug. 29 and Aug. 31. Visit mypremieredgetraining.com for additional information and to register. To help enhance the practice experience for your patients with diabetes and prediabetes, visit vspeyeondiabetes.com.