The Pennsylvania Diabetic Eye Health Alliance
Diabetic Eye Health Alliance (PDEHA) is a program designed to target known public health concerns surrounding the care of diabetics.
About the PDEHA
On June 7, 2008, Pennsylvania optometry, through its House of Delegates, made a commitment to provide expedient, comprehensive eye care to diabetic patients. The resolution called for the association to "develop and implement a statewide program to ensure the provision of timely optometric care to diabetic patients and to communicate findings to the other members of the diabetic patient's healthcare team." A task force was immediately assembled, and the "The Pennsylvania Diabetic Eye Health Alliance" began to take shape. On February 22, 2009, the Pennsylvania Diabetic Eye Health Alliance was launched in conjunction with the POA's one-day "Inter-professional Management of Your Diabetic Patient" seminar in Hershey. Knowing that Pennsylvania optometrists are already providing excellent care to diabetic patients, it is our hope that all members will embrace the additional components of this program that solidify optometry's role as primary eye care providers. We encourage each of you to participate in The Pennsylvania Diabetic Eye Health Alliance. While this program is not currently designed to generate direct referrals, it has resulted in a list of optometrists who have committed to a certain standard of care that includes dilated fundus exams, seeing diabetic patients expediently, and communicating exam results to the patient's primary care provider and other members of the health care team as appropriate. This list is provided to third party payers to document optometry's commitment to providing the highest level of care to diabetic patients, and will help optometry continue to build bridges and partnerships with third party payers and others in the health care delivery system.
If you have any questions about the Pennsylvania Diabetic Eye Health Alliance or how to become a part of this exciting initiative, please contact the POA office at (717) 233-6455.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is an epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 34 millions Americans have diabetes and face its devastating consequences. The serious complications include heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness and death.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Without lifestyle changes such as weight loss and increased physical activity, most people with prediabetes will get type 2 diabetes within 5 to 6 years. Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people with prediabetes.
- Total: 96 million people aged 18 years or older have prediabetes (38.0% of the adult US population)
- 65 years or older: 26.4 million people aged 65 years or older (48.8%) have prediabetes
Three types of diabetes: In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. This autoimmune disease is typically diagnosed by early adulthood, often in children. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable or reversible. The condition is either present at birth or the body's ability to produce insulin declines over time. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin and/or does not use it. This is the most common type of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes typically develops over time. Eating healthy and being physically active to manage your weight can help to prevent type 2 diabetes. In gestational diabetes, high blood glucose levels develop during pregnancy and typically return to normal after delivery. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Total: 37.3 million people have diabetes (11.3% of the US population)
- Diagnosed: 28.7 million people, including 28.5 million adults
- Undiagnosed: 8.5 million people (23.0% of adults are undiagnosed)
Pennsylvania's diabetes epidemic:
- Every year an estimated 89,719 people in Pennsylvania are diagnosed with diabetes
- Approximately 1,147,490 people in Pennsylvania, or 11.1% of the adult population have diagnosed diabetes
- An additional 303,000 people in Pennsylvania have diabetes but don't know it, greatly increasing their health risk
- There are 3,484,000 people in Pennsylvania, 34.1% of the adult population, who have prediabetes with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes
The POA has a diabetes poster, which is FREE to members participating in the Pennsylvania Diabetic Eye Health Alliance (PDEHA). The poster is a 18" x 24" full-color design suitable to proudly display in your office. Posters are available at the POA and can be mailed upon request.