Painless screenings at Tour

Published 9:23 pm Saturday, March 18, 2017

Periodic screenings for diabetes are an important part of preventing people developing Type 2 diabetes. However, until now, those screenings have involved a finger prick to check their blood sugar.

At this year’s American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure on April 29, a screening tool will be available that involves nothing more than a few minutes of a doctor looking into your eyes.

“The machine looks at the back of the eye and detects the glucose level,” said Tami Burke, director of marketing and public relations for Virginia Eye Consultants. “From those sugar levels, it can predict your likelihood of developing diabetes.”

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Burke said people who are already diabetic also score high on the test, meaning that if they do not know they have diabetes, it will also be an indicator that they should visit their doctor.

“What we have found is that if someone has diabetes, they are scoring high for their likelihood of developing diabetes,” Burke said.

The relatively new technology will help more people be screened for diabetes, Burke believes, because it is pain-free.

“For people who don’t want to have their finger pricked, this breaks down that barrier,” she said.

The business hopes to screen between 50 and 100 people at this year’s Tour de Cure. The weather will affect whether they’re able to do that, though — if it’s a nice day, people will be more inclined to wander around after their race and discover the screening.

People who take the screening will be given a green, yellow or red color category, with green being low risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and red being high risk or already diabetic.

This year, people who take the screening will be given the opportunity to book a follow-up appointment with an eye doctor convenient for them that accepts their insurance, Burke said.

Burke said the Tour de Cure is the perfect place to conduct diabetes awareness efforts, even though it might seem like everyone there is hyper-aware of diabetes.

“With so many people at Tour de Cure who are vendors or who are family members who are there to cheer on the riders, it’s surprising how many people who support the diabetes association, who support this ride, who have never been checked themselves,” Burke said. “Maybe someone who has never been tested before will step up and do it. I think not having it be a finger prick makes that even easier.”

The 2017 Hampton Roads Tour de Cure will take place April 29, beginning and ending at King’s Fork High School. The route options are 10, 25, 65 or 100 miles.

There is a $25 registration fee and a $200 fundraising minimum. The fundraising goal is $450,000; so far about $159,000 has been raised.

Visit for more information about the fundraiser or to volunteer.