People with diabetes are at increased risk for eye problems. A new study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham finds that poor diabetes patients who go to public hospital clinics have low rates of eye care.
They looked at nearly 900 diabetes patients who were seen in a county hospital clinic. Of those patients, whose average age was 52, nearly 62 percent were women, about 61 percent were poor.
About 33 percent of them had an exam within one year and 45 percent had a check-up within two years. Patients older than 65 were more likely to receive eye care than patients younger than 40. The study found that low socioeconomic status is a risk factor for visual impairment because of decreased preventive services and poor continuity of care.
Any delay in the detection of eye disorders can increase the risk of complications in diabetics, said lead researcher Paul MacLennan. He suggested that additional education efforts regarding the need for eye care should be directed toward younger people with diabetes.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.
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