The primary care physician's role in preventing vision loss and blindness in patients with diabetes

J Natl Med Assoc. 2011 Mar;103(3):281-3. doi: 10.1016/s0027-9684(15)30288-1.


While not trained to specifically diagnose or treat ophthalmic conditions, primary care physicians can play a significant role in the visual health of their patients, specifically those with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States and because of its asymptomatic nature, patients often do not seek eye care until they notice changes in their vision. Patients with diabetes look to their physicians for guidance in managing all aspects of the disease, and research has shown people are more likely to have their eyes examined if their physician suggests it. Physicians should discuss visual health with patients and make referrals for annual comprehensive dilated eye examinations. Vision loss and blindness from diabetes can often be prevented through early detection and timely treatment; however, many patients seek eye care at a stage too late for treatment to be effective.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Blindness / etiology*
  • Blindness / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / etiology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / prevention & control*
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • United States