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March 1977

The Ophthalmologist's Role in Diabetes

Author Affiliations

Lexington, Massachusetts

Arch Ophthalmol. 1977;95(3):519-520. doi:10.1001/archopht.1977.04450030161027

To the Editor.–In the Correspondence Section of the October issue, Dr. L. Girard states that diabetes is a hereditary disease which can be eliminated by proper family planning and that diabetics should have the option to have children by adoption.

Unfortunately, the situation is not that simple. Diabetes is a multifactorial disease with other conditions such as obesity and diet being important factors. In a recent article, it was pointed out that prospective studies with long-term follow-up observations are needed before the genetic components can be adequately defined. These authors concluded that "unfortunately, accurate genetic counseling for the majority of patients is impossible at present."1 It would seem illadvised to suggest that any ophthalmologist should advise a couple in which one of the members has diabetes that they should abstain from having children. Even geneticists working in that field would be most reluctant to give such advice. There

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