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Health Promotions Committee educates at diabetes meeting

October 22, 2012

AOA Sections Manager Melissa Flower, at right, represented the AOA Health Promotions Committee at the American Association of Diabetic Educators meeting in August.

The AOA’s Healthy Eyes Healthy People® (HEHP) booth was among the more than 300 exhibitors at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). More than 3,500 attendees gathered for four days to learn about the latest in diabetes research and treatment.

The AOA booth, staffed by AOA Health Promotions Committee volunteer Daniel Bintz, O.D., and AOA staff member Melissa Flower, provided materials to educators so they can better inform their patients about the seriousness of diabetes-related eye disease.

This year’s meeting was held in Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 1-4.

AOA representatives stressed to the attendees that doctors of optometry can provide the majority of eye care for patients with diabetes and that these patients should be seen yearly for a dilated eye exam.

Again this year, in addition to the traditional brochures and tear sheets, the AOA offered a set of educational materials on CD-ROM so that educators could make additional copies for their patients.

“This is a great meeting and one that I personally like to attend,” said Dr. Bintz. “Doctors of optometry should refer any patient with recently diagnosed diabetes to a certified diabetes educator. And those patients who have been diagnosed for several years could also benefit from a refresher course on diabetes care. In rural practices, I would encourage doctors to visit the AADE website and explore online options for patient education. If a certified diabetes educator is not available, inquire if the nearest hospital dietician is interested in obtaining referrals from you.”

“Diabetes educators always seem to be highly motivated to learn more about diabetes so they can share this information with their patients. They are appreciative that we are present and are generally overwhelmed with the quality of our materials,” Dr. Bintz said. “People were begging for the Vision Simulator Cards on the last day after we ran out. The educators also loved the idea of having the CD to create handouts as needed.”

Next year’s AADE meeting will be in Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 7-10.

More on the AADE can be found at www.diabeteseducator.org.

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