December 20, 2013
1 min read

Study: Patients with diabetes may not receive care to prevent visual impairment, blindness

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Patients with diabetes mellitus in the U.S. report that they are not getting the prompt care needed to prevent visual impairment and blindness, according to a study.

Seven hundred ninety-eight patients 40 years or older with diabetes mellitus and fundus photographs who participated in the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were included in the cross-sectional analysis; 512 patients had diabetes without diabetic retinopathy or DME, 238 had diabetic retinopathy without DME, and 48 had DME.

Only 44.7% of patients with DME said they were informed by a physician that they had retinopathy or that their eyes were affected by diabetes; 46.7% reported visiting a diabetes nurse educator, nutritionist or dietitian more than 1 year ago or never; and 59.7% reported having an eye examination with pupil dilation within the last year.

Based on visual acuity at the baseline examination, 28.7% of patients with DME were visually impaired, and 16% were visually impaired based on best corrected visual acuity.

“Our results suggest that many individuals with DME report not receiving prompt diabetes-related or eye-related care, although many of these individuals are at risk of substantial visual loss that could be lessened or eliminated with appropriate care,” the researchers wrote.

Disclosure: See the study for a full list of author affiliations.