In contemporary America, there is little question that we are facing an epidemic of diabetes mellitus. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes.1 Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74 years. And, in 2006, the CDC listed diabetes as the seventh leading cause of mortality in the United States.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% to 95% of all cases of diabetes among American adults. Most alarming, however, is that we are now experiencing a measurable increase in new reported cases of type 2 diabetes among individuals aged 10 to 19 years.1

Myriad factors are widely responsible for the modern diabetes epidemic. Higher American obesity rates caused by poor dietary habits and inadequate exercise certainly top the list.2

Quick Facts on Diabetes from the CDC1

23.6 million Americans have diabetes. Of those, 17.9 million individuals are diagnosed and 5.7 million are undiagnosed.

African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes and its complications.

Diabetic retinopathy causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year.

More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
In 2007, an estimated $116 billion was spent on direct care for patients with diabetes.

Ten minutes of light cardio on the elliptical machine is not going to burn off the excess calories you received from your large caramel mocha chip latte with extra whip or the bacon double cheeseburger and fries that you ate for lunch. Similarly, two hours of the most grueling, sweaty, hardcore video gaming is not an ideal substitute for a quick 30 minutes of two-on-two with your buddies on the basketball court.

General lethargy and over consumption of fast food are but two fundamental considerations
associated with a higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes in the United States. But, one must also consider that American industry is now widely service-based, with more workers sitting in office cubicles eight to 10 hours a day instead of performing manual labor in foundries. Also, more Americans now live in suburbia than ever before and do not have the option to walk or bike to work. Many Americans have to set aside the time to cook healthy meals and partake in physical activityand who has time to even think about that?

Unfortunately, it does not appear that the skyrocketing incidence of diabetes in the United States is going to dwindle anytime soon. Therefore, in Reviews 10th Annual Diabetes Report, we provide you with cutting-edge research, information and advice on how to effectively treat and manage your patients with type 2 diabetes.

In this months Optometric Study Center, Diabetes: New Agents, New Technologies and New Approaches, authors Pinakin Gunvant, B.S.Optom., Ph.D., and Freddy W.L. Chang, O.D., Ph.D., discuss various pharmacologic agents that are used to treat type 2 diabetes patients. They also touch on several ophthalmic imaging devices that you may use to diagnose and monitor diabetic eye disease. Also, be sure to check out this months Coding Abstract by David Mills, O.D., M.B.A., and edited by John Rumpakis, O.D., M.B.A., which focuses on proper coding and billing strategies for managing patients who have diabetes.

Perhaps you cannot single-handedly quell the diabetes epidemic in the United States; however, you can make a significant impact by providing the best available care and information to your patients with diabetes.


The staff at Review of Optometry congratulates Editor-in-Chief Amy Hellem on the birth of her second daughter, Nina Elizabeth, on August 25th!


1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: general information and national estimates on diabetes in the United States, 2007. Available at: (Accessed September 5, 2008).

2. The International Diabetes Federation. Facts & figures: Did you know? Available at: (Accessed September 5, 2008).




Vol. No: 145:09Issue: 9/15/2008