Survey finds diabetics are aware of the risk of blindness but often fail to get eye checks

by Barbara Hewitt on May 8, 2013

Survey finds diabetics are aware of the risk of blindness but often fail to get eye checks

Survey finds diabetics are aware of the risk of blindness but often fail to get eye checks

Diabetics are aware of the risk of blindness caused by the condition but they don’t always actually bother to have their eyes checked regularly, new research has found. In the United States diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults and while 96% of people surveyed said they were aware of this, some 20% had not has their eyes checked in the last 12 month.

The American Diabetes Association, which commissioned the research, said that it shows that awareness does not always drive action when it comes to eye health. ‘Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults. For the nearly 20 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the US, it is critical that they receive an annual eye exam to avoid complications and lower their risk of glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems such as diabetic macular edema,’ said Dr John Anderson, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association.

‘May is Healthy Vision Month and this research demonstrates the need for us to continue to educate people with diabetes about the importance of eye health, and receiving an annual eye exam,’ he added. The Diabetes Eye Health Study surveyed adults in the US who are currently diagnosed with diabetes and explored issues around awareness and level of concern about blindness caused by diabetes. For these people diagnosed with diabetes, the importance of annual eye exams, whether they had a recent exam including dilation and where they learned about recommendations for eye exams were also surveyed.

It found that those diagnosed with diabetes are concerned about blindness associated with their condition. Of those surveyed 74% report that they are at least somewhat personally concerned about the association between diabetes and blindness and 83% believe that it is extremely or very important to have an annual eye examination. It also found that 96% of those diagnosed are aware that diabetes can lead to blindness, 98% of those diagnosed believe that it is at least somewhat important to have an annual eye check, and 87% are aware that it is recommended to have an annual dilated eye examination.

Quote from DiabetesForum.com : “Caucasian individuals with A1C ≥5.7% exhibit both core pathophysiological defects of type 2 diabetes i.e. insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction.”

The association said that this suggests that people diagnosed with diabetes are not always aware of recommended care to prevent eye complications associated with their diabetes. Nearly all, 97%, of those diagnosed with diabetes, which have ever had an eye examination have done so since their diagnosis. However, out of this group, 13% report not having their eyes dilated at their last check, even when aware that it is recommended.

The research also found there is a near even split in familiarity regarding the condition diabetic macular edema. Some 52% of those diagnosed are not at all familiar with this condition, even among those who have had an eye examination and dilation at their most recent check up since diagnosis.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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