Diabetes visual impairment declining

Nov. 18, 2011 at 12:29 AM

ATLANTA, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The percentage of adults with diabetes who reported visual impairment dropped from 26 percent to 19 percent between 1997 and 2010, U.S. officials say.

A report, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said diabetes can lead to visual impairment and blindness, but early detection and treatment of many common eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, can reduce the risk.

However, the age-adjusted percentage of adults with diagnosed diabetes and self-reported visual impairment who reported having consulted an eye-care provider in the past year remained constant at about 63 percent, the report said.

"The majority of vision loss caused by diabetes could be avoided by good diabetes management -- good control of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipids -- and yearly dilated eye examination for early detection and timely treatment," the report said.

It's imperative to improve the declining trends in visual impairment and to increase rates of recommended eye examinations in the population with diabetes, CDC officials said.

The findings were published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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