New Diabetes PSA Campaign Encourages Annual Eye Exams
While diabetic retinopathy is the cause of as many as 24,000 new cases of blindness each year, fewer than 50% of patients with diabetes receive an annual dilated eye exam that could detect the condition early enough for preventive treatment. A new public service announcement campaign to encourage people with diabetes, particularly minorities, to receive annual eye exams was announced yesterday by Congressional Diabetes Caucus co-chairs Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and George Nethercutt (R-Wash.), Congressional Black Caucus chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), as well as representatives from the American Diabetes Association, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Association of Health Plans. Although cost is often the main barrier to getting an annual eye exam, Michael Mawby, national vice president of government relations and advocacy for the ADA said that approximately 93% of people with diabetes have some type of health insurance but may not be aware that regular eye care is included in their coverage. Mawby said that early screening has the potential to not only improve quality of life for many patients, but also to save the health care system overall money in disability payments. The print, television and radio public service announcement campaign is aimed at increasing awareness of the importance and availability of the test.
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The campaign, which is being translated in Spanish, will target minority populations who are particularly at risk for diabetes and its complications. Hispanics are twice as likely as the majority population to have type II Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy is 40-50% higher among African Americans. The radio ad, television ad and print ad are available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader and Quicktime Player to view the PSAs (Jennifer Haliski, California Healthline, 11/28).