Retinal vascular disease: Think globally

In patients with signs of retinal vascular disease, optometrists must consider the bigger picture. If a patient has hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia or associated retinal changes, optometrists should be asking whether the patient has metabolic syndrome.

"Metabolic syndrome is a complex disorder with rising prevalence that is associated with significantly increased risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but also with microvascular disease, including retinal complications that may put patients at risk for sight-threatening events," said Dr. Joy, Mooresville, NC.

"Therefore, in our everyday busy practices," he continued, "it is increasingly important that optometrists look at patients globally in terms of their overall systemic health and work collaboratively with our colleagues in primary care and retina to ensure that all treatable conditions are addressed and to help patients maintain optimal vision."

"Optometrists are very good at recognizing the individual pathological changes associated with diabetes, hypertension, or hypercholesterolemia. Considering the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is a different and very important thought process," he said.