People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious eye diseases, yet most do not have annual eye exams, according to researchers at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. The investigators found that more than half of patients with diabetes skip eye exams. They also discovered that patients who smoke—and those with less severe diabetes and no eye problems—were most likely to neglect having eye exams. The researchers collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the charts of close to 2,000 patients age 40 years 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 the following:
- 58% of patients did not have regular follow-up eye exams.
- Smokers were 20% 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% more likely to have follow-up exams.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AOA) recommends that people with diabetes have eye exams annually or more often if recommended by their ophthalmologist. Americans age 65 years and older may be eligible to get a medical eye exam at no cost through Eye Care America, a public service program of the AOA. For more information about diabetic eye disease, visit www.aao.org/eye- health.
Source: “Nonadherence to Eye Care in People with Diabetes” was presented at AOA 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.