Eye Disorder Risk High Among Older Diabetics

According to a recent study, around 30 percent of adults with diabetes in the United States who are over 40 years old are said to have diabetic retinopathy with around 4 percent of them having the type that can threaten their eyesight. Diabetic retinopathy is the damage to the retina as a result of complications of diabetes milletus.

Diabetic milletus is said to be the leading cause of legal blindness among US adults from 20 to 74 years of age. Treatment for blindness related to diabetes is said to cost Americans around $500 million each year. Investigating the prevalence of diabetes related blindness may provide some indications as to the impact of diabetes on the population.

Xinzhi Zhang, M.D., Ph. D. of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta conducted a study with colleagues in order to determine the recent prevalence and risk factors of diabetic retinopathy among US adults ages 40 years and older. The study involved an analysis of data from a representative sample of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2008 and included 1,0006 individuals. In the study, diabetes was defined as a self-report of a previous diagnosis of the disease or a glycated hemoglobin A1c of 6.5 percent or greater. Photographs of each eye were also taken to determine and classify diabetic retinopathy.

The results of the study showed that from the 2005 to 2008 survey, the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and vision threatening diabetic retinopathy was at 28.5 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively among US adults 40 years old and above. Around 31.6 percent of men and 25.7 percent of women with diabetes in the survey had diabetic retinopathy.

The authors of the study concluded, “These estimates provide policy makers updated information for use in planning eye care services and rehabilitation. With the aging of the population and the increasing proportion of the population with diverse racial/ethnic heritage, the number of cases of diabetic retinopathy and vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy will likely increase. Furthermore, the need for eye care and for culturally appropriate interventions that can reduce disparity and improve access to eye care among diverse populations is also likely to increase.”

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals. “Prevalence of Eye Disorder High Among Older US Adults With Diabetes.” ScienceDaily 10 August 2010. 16 August 2010 <http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­ /releases/2010/08/100810163454.htm>


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