Only 50 to 60 percent of people with diabetes receive annual eye exams from their optometrists, ophthalmologists, or other providers of eye care within 15 months of diagnosis.
Researchers in the United States studied the rate of eye exams based upon claims data among Medicare beneficiaries, age 65 and older, who had diabetes and chronic eye disease. Participants were a random sample of Medicare recipients who were followed from 1991 to 1999 excluding death or HMO enrollment for more than six months in a given 12-month period.
Of those followed for at least 75 months after diagnosis, 75 percent had one or more 15-month gap between visits to an optometrist, ophthalmologist or eye care provider.
The researchers emphasize the importance of the recommended annual eye exams for early detection of treatable vision loss.