Diabetic Retinopathy Seen in Nearly One in Three Diabetics

11 Aug

The Los Angeles Times (8/11, Maugh) reports, “Nearly three in 10 Americans with diabetes over the age of 40 suffer from vision impairment caused by diabetic retinopathy, and about 4.4% have a form of the condition so severe it threatens their eyesight,” according to a study published in the August 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

HealthDay (8/10, Gordon) reported that “the news wasn’t all bad, however. The findings suggest that good control of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol can go a long way toward preventing or slowing diabetic eye disease.” For the study, CDC researchers “reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2008, which included nearly 7,000 people over age 40,” 1,006 of whom had diabetes.

Focusing on specific gender and ethnic/racial demographics, WebMD (8/10, Woznicki) reported that “31.6% men and 25.7% of women over age 40 who have diabetes are estimated to have diabetic retinopathy,” while “38.8% of non-Hispanic blacks were estimated to have diabetic retinopathy, 34% of Mexican-Americans, and 26.4% of non-Hispanic whites.” Interestingly, “age was not a major factor among the study group.”

“Independent risk factors for diabetic retinopathy included male sex, higher hemoglobin A1c level, longer duration of diabetes, and higher systolic blood pressure, with respective odds ratios of 2.07, 1.45, 1.06 per year of duration, and 1.03 per millimeter of mercury,” MedPage Today (8/10, Smith) reported. Reuters (8/11, Peeples) also covers the story.

While taking all possible steps to prevent diabetic retinopathy, an annual eye exam with dilated pupils is essential according to Dr. John Henahan of Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City, GA.  “At Spectrum Eyecare, we take finding diabetic retinopathy very seriously.  Early diagnosis greatly reduces the chance that vision loss will occur, so we dilate the eyes and take high resolution photographs of the retina to make sure we don’t miss even the slightest changes from diabetes.”  If you or a loved one are diabetic and have not had an eye exam in the past year, then please contact us or your local eye doctor for an exam.

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