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Relationship Between Fitness Levels and Eye Health in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes

Grant Winners

  • Debra Stern, D.B.A. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Joseph Pizzimenti, O.D. – College of Optometry
  • Jennie Lou, M.D. – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Leah Nof, Ph.D. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Sherrol Reynolds, O.D. – College of Optometry
  • Alexandra Espejo, O.D. – College of Optometry
  • Alan Kabat, O.D. – College of Optometry
  • Annette Bade, O.D. – College of Optometry


  • Richard Davis – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Anthony Silvagni – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • David Loshin – College of Optometry


Award Winners

Need/Background: Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. Obesity and lack of fitness correlate with rise in numbers diagnosed annually. Diabetes is a multi-system disease, impacting all body systems including musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neuromuscular, and the eye and vision. Diabetic retinopathy is estimated to be the most frequent cause of new blindness cases in the U.S. among adults.

Rationale: Walking has been shown to diminish the pathology associated with diabetes. However, the longitudinal effects of fitness, exercise tolerance and the correlation with eye health and disease management have not been established.

Methodological design: This pilot study will use one group pre and post-test design targeting adults. Fitness levels and eye health will be assessed at entry and at nine months. Subjects, based on their initial findings, will be instructed in walking programs. Levels will be determined based on history and completion of the SF 36, Timed Up and Go (TUG), height/weight and BMI, lower extremity sensory assessment and 6-minute walk test Eye health will be determined through history and opthalmic examination. Subjects will be instructed in appropriate walking programs and will use pedometers to track performance and compliance.

Data Analysis: Wilcoxin Signed - Ranks test comparing pre and post-test SF 36 scores and paired t- tests comparing scores for the TUG with significance determined at the p = <.05 level will be used. Results of all ophthalmic testing will be reported using the appropriate units of measure.

Significance: This proposal illustrates the aims of the investigators to increase exercise tolerance and fitness as preventive and disease management strategies for individuals with diabetes as they pertain to eye health and fitness levels. The results of the study shall be used to meet the needs of the local community and to seek external funding for future research.

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