Tags: Diabetes | Diabetes | diabetic | retinopathy | blindness

Diabetics Skip Eye Exams, Risking Sight

Diabetics Skip Eye Exams, Risking Sight

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By    |   Friday, 21 October 2016 01:36 PM

People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious eye diseases, yet most do not have sight-saving annual eye exams, a new study says.

One in 10 Americans have diabetes, putting them at heightened risk for visual impairment due to the eye disease diabetic retinopathy.

The disease also can lead to other blinding ocular complications if not treated in time. Fortunately, having a dilated eye exam yearly or more often can prevent 95 percent of diabetes-related vision loss.

But researchers at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia find that more than half of patients with diabetes skip these exams. They also discovered that patients who smoke as well as those with less severe diabetes and no eye problems were most likely to neglect having these checks.

The researchers collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the charts of close to 2,000 patients age 40 or older with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to see how many had regular eye exams. Their findings over a four-year period revealed that:

  • Fifty-eight percent of patients did not have regular follow-up eye exams.
  • Smokers were 20 percent less likely to have exams.
  • Those with less-severe disease and no eye problems were least likely to follow recommendations.
  • Those who had diabetic retinopathy were 30 percent more likely to have follow-up exams.

“Vision loss is tragic, especially when it is preventable,” says Dr. Ann P. Murchison, lead author of the study. “That’s why we want to raise awareness and ensure people with diabetes understand the importance of regular eye exams.”

The study was presented at AA0 2016, the 120th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


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Blindness is a major complication of diabetes, but many people with the disease skip eye exams, which increases their risk.
Diabetes, diabetic, retinopathy, blindness
Friday, 21 October 2016 01:36 PM
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