Eye Imaging Study at Hospital Screens for Diabetic Eye Complications

Lanham, MD – Doctors Community Hospital’s Joslin Diabetes Center is participating in a study researching whether an eye imaging scan can identify diabetic macular edema early and allow people to receive more timely optical care to protect their vision.

The retina is the part of the eye that responds to light and is responsible for sight.  It is a thin strip of nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye ball.  People who have diabetes sometimes develop thickening or swelling in the center of the retina (macular).  This thickening is called diabetic macular edema (DME).  One of the symptoms of DME is blurry vision.

Qualifying patients at Doctors Community Hospital’s Joslin Diabetes Center will have access to a DME study.  Using a brief eye imaging test called optical coherence tomography, the thickness of the retina will be measured during their routine diabetes care appointments.  The test is performed by having patients look into the optical coherence tomography machine and a pattern of flashing lights.  The results of this painless test are immediately evaluated by a diabetes specialist with patients whose results suggest the presence of DME being referred to a retinal eye doctor for further evaluations.

According to Dr. Mahdu K. Mohan, endocrinologist and principal investigator of the hospital’s DME study, “Many patients who come to me for diabetes care experience a combination of symptoms with blurry vision being near the top of that list.  If this study proves that optical coherence tomography can help identify diabetic macular edema early, we can significantly help people whose vision may become further impaired because of this disease.”

Phil Down, president at Doctors Community Hospital, stated that the hospital’s goals have consistently included providing preventative health services to improve the quality of people’s lives.  “We developed the Joslin Diabetes Center in 2005, recognizing that diabetes was a major health issue in our community.  With Joslin being an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School, we gained insights into best practices that helped us design a comprehensive program that includes patient screenings, assessments and most importantly education.”

About the Joslin Diabetes Center

The only multidisciplinary program in Prince George’s County accredited by the American Diabetes Association, Joslin Diabetes Center at Doctors Community Hospital provides both medical and educational services.  Its comprehensive services include board-certified endocrinologists, certified diabetes educators, registered dietitians as well as diabetic ulcer and non-healing wound care.

The center provides:

  • A convenient location for comprehensive and multidisciplinary diabetes care
  • Day-to-day diabetes management including insulin pump education and management
  • Personalized care tailored to people’s unique needs
  • Free support services to help people manage this complex disease
  • Comprehensive diagnostic services and treatment options

About Diabetes

About 800,000 people in Prince George’s County have diabetes.  Poorly managed diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage and limb amputation.  Some of the symptoms of this disease include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Irritability
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Tingling numbness in hands or feet
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision

There are two types of diabetes.

  • Type 1 diabetes is when the body completely stops producing any insulin, a hormone that enables the body to process the glucose found in food.  People who have type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections.  This form of diabetes usually develops in children or young adults.
  • Type 2 diabetes results when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly (insulin resistant).  It usually occurs in people who are ages 40 or older, overweight and have a family history of diabetes.