Quick Hits

Diabetes among most “Googled” diseases

Patients researching conditions online is the “new normal,” so guiding them in the right direction is key.

By Robert Stoneback, associate editor

According to a recent national report by TermLife2Go, an online life insurance agency, diabetes is one of the most “Googled” diseases in the United States. Human papilloma virus is the most searched condition, while diabetes ties for second with celiac disease, according to the report published by MDLinx.

Shilpa Rose, MD, who is in private practice in Chevy Chase, Md., says it’s unusual for a patient to come to the clinic saying, “I think I have diabetes because of my research.” Instead, she says patients are more likely to schedule appointments due to blurry vision or their worries about a family history of diabetes. Dr. Rose attributes the high Google rate for diabetes to patients’ interest in being healthier and their increased awareness in “pre-diabetes.” If patients have elevated blood sugar and receive a diagnosis of pre-diabetes from an internist or similar specialist, they will research the condition to find out what they can safely eat or what other medical conditions, such as blindness, might be associated with diabetes, she explains.


Patients turning to the internet and Google for medical information is “the new normal,” Dr. Rose says. She notes that even five years ago, doctors balked at patients looking up information on their own. Today, however, physicians just have to accept that it happens.

With the rise of patients using “Dr. Google” to self-diagnose, Dr. Rose recommends viewing the internet as a supplementary form of patient education — not a rival. When patients do their own medical research, it is important not to be dismissive and to guide and empower patients, she says. This creates opportunities for more informed discussions between the doctor and patient.

To ensure that they follow proper advice, she often provides printed handouts for patients to take home. These educational materials give them something to reference on their own time. Then, she leads them in the right direction for supplemental education by suggesting specific internet sources, such as the AAO’s website. Also, she warns patients to not always trust the first links they see in a search result, cautioning that anything labeled “paid search” may not be reliable.


Ultimately, patients don’t want a doctor who “is not with the times,” so Dr. Rose familiarizes herself with the ophthalmic information that regularly shows up online.

“I will sometimes go home and research what information is out there on different eye conditions,” she says. “Being well-versed in what comes up in search engines is helpful.” OM


Zeiss received 510(K) FDA clearance for the CLARUS 700, a high-definition, ultra-widefield imaging system. CLARUS 700 offers high-resolution ultra-widefield imaging with true color and a range of fundus imaging modalities, including fluorescein angiography. Additionally, Zeiss announced that it has become a shareholder of MicroOptx Inc., a privately held company focused on minimally invasive glaucoma surgery devices to reduce a patient’s IOP.

Ocular Therapeutix announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved transitional pass-through payment status and established a new reimbursement code, C9048, for DEXTENZA (dexamethasone ophthalmic insert). A C-code is a unique temporary product code established by CMS for the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System used to report claims for hospital outpatient department and ASC services and procedures.

Clearside Biomedical, Inc. announced a worldwide licensing agreement with Aura Biosciences for the use of Clearside’s Suprachoroidal Space (SCS) Microinjector, to deliver Aura’s drug candidates into the SCS for the potential treatment of certain ocular cancers, including choroidal melanoma. Aura is developing viral nanoparticle conjugates designed to selectively bind and eliminate cancer cells without damaging surrounding normal tissues.

OCuSOFT launched its Lid Scrub Allergy Eyelid Cleanser. The pre-moistened pads, which help remove oil, debris, pollen and other contaminants from the eyelids, use green tea extract, tea tree oil and PSG-2 to reduce redness, inflammation and itching.

Surgiorithm is an at-home cataract patient preparation solution aimed to decrease chair time. Patients complete an online interactive interview, which includes video and financing option education. Then, the practice receives a patient insight report that indicates preferences.