Many Type 2s Never Warned About Threats to Vision

More than half of adults with type 2 diabetes who are at risk of vision loss from their condition have not been advised by their doctors of the danger.

That’s the conclusion of a recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, based a review of data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2005 to 2008 of type 2s’ responses to questions about their medical care, including information on diabetic macular edema.

High blood sugar levels cause the condition by damaging retinal blood vessels, reducing the eye’s ability to see clearly and distinctly. Left untreated, macular edema can lead to substantial or total vision loss.

An estimated 745,000 people with diabetes in the United States are thought to have the condition. However, it is treatable and damage can be minimized in more than 90 percent of all cases, providing patients learn proper eye care and are diligent about getting eye exams.

The CDC’s survey results showed that two out of five types 2s had not received a complete eye exam within the past year, while about half reported that they had not seen a doctor in the same period. One third of all respondents reported that they had already suffered some vision problems.

The JAMA Ophthalmology cited three possible steps the healthcare system could take to lessen the occurrence of macular edema among type 2s: Insist that type 2s receive full-scale eye exams every two years; make sure that doctors are aware of the need to counsel people with diabetes about the dangers to eye health posed by high blood sugar; and assure greater participation in eye testing by extending healthcare insurance to more people.

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