HealthDay News — Many people living with diabetes are not receiving the eye care they need to prevent visual impairment or blindness, study findings suggest.

“Strategies to increase awareness are warranted, especially given the recent availability of improved therapies for diabetic macular edema [DME],” Neil M. Bressler, MD, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hospital in Baltimore, and colleagues reported in  JAMA Ophthalmology.

They analyzed data from participants of the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, aged 40 years or older, with diabetes and fundus photographs to characterize awareness of eye care and eye disease among those with DME.

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In 2010, only 44.7% of those with DME reported being told by a physician that diabetes had affected their eyes or that they had retinopathy. Nearly half (46.7%) reported that they had never visited, or within the last year had not visited, a diabetes nurse educator, dietician or nutritionist for their diabetes.

Overall, more than half (59.7%) of participants reported that they had received an eye examination with pupil dilation within the last year. Based on visual acuity at the initial examination, 28.7% of those with DME were visually impaired (visual acuity worse than 20/40 in the eye with DME), and 16% were visually impaired based on best-corrected visual acuity.


  1. Bressler NM et al. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013; doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.6426.