Letter to the Editor: Give correct information
I read your recent article entitled "The dilemma of Diabetes", (08-22-06) written by Richard Shaw and was quite disturbed by false information included in the article.
He states, "Most diabetics have hemorrhages behind their eyes in the sockets. Only an ophthalmologist can see those."
Optometrists are primary care eye doctors who, like opthalmologists, can perform dilated retinal examinations and detect hemorrhages and other retinal complications of diabetes. We are well trained and licensed to diagnose and manage ocular disease. The main difference between optometrists and opthalmologists is that optometrists are not surgeons.
Optometrists monitor diabetic etinopathy until the point that it becomes a threat to vision or surgery is needed. At this time, we refer the patient to a retinal specialist, who is an opthalmologist, to be evaluated and likely have surgery performed.
Furthermore, hemorrhages that occur due to diabetes are most commonly found on the retina and not "behind their eye sockets." No eye doctor, opthalmologist and optometrists alike, can view the socket without an MRI or other imaging technique.
I think it is wonderful that you are educating people about the effects of this devastating disease. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness in the United States. However, you need to give people the correct information.
Patients can rest assured that their eye doctor, whether an opthalmologist or optometrist, is qualified and dedicated to closely monitoring them for diabetic changes in the eye.