Data show possible ‘early warning’ of more vision impairment among with diabetes

Source / Disclosures


Lundeen EA, et al. 1140-P. Presented at: American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions; June 3-7, 2022; New Orleans (hybrid meeting).

Disclosures: Lundeen reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the poster for other authors relevant financial disclosures.

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NEW ORLEANS – Vision impairment among adults with diabetes may be increasing, according to data from a CDC study.

Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness. Vision impairment among adults with diabetes declined in the first decade of this century, but researchers observed an increase since 2012.

Female eye up close
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“While this latter trend of increasing vision impairment prevalence from 2012 to 2018 did not reach statistical significance, it could be an early warning that Trends in vision impairment among those with diabetes are headed in the wrong direction,” Elizabeth Lundeen, PhD, MPH, senior Scientist in the Vision Health Initiative at CDC, told Healio. “A number of factors could influence these findings, such as changes in glycemic management among those with diabetes or changes in vision screening or health care utilization in this population.”

Elizabeth Lundeen

Lundeen and colleagues assessed self-reported data from 20 years of the U.S. National Health Interview Survey from more than 52,166 participants with diabetes Half of respondent reported visiting an eye doctor in the past year, and this proportion was consistent over 20 years. Overall, about one in five respondents reported impaired vision, defined as trouble seeing even with glasses or contact lenses. Based on a 3-year moving average, the researchers observed a nonstatistically significant overall decrease in vision impairment among adults with diabetes from 1999 to 2018, from 21.5% to 20.7%. However, that trend obscures a decrease from 1999 to 2012, from 21.5% to 17.7% (P <.001), followed by a nonsignificant increase from 2012 to 2018 to 20.7%.

“We were very interested to explore these 20-year trends in vision impairment among adults with diabetes due to recent studies that have shown changes in glycemic control among those with diabetes during this time period,” Lundeen said. “For example, one study found that during the period from 20072010 to 20152018, there was a decrease in glycemic control in U.S. adults with diabetes. Decreased glycemic control can potentially lead to a worsening of ocular complications – like diabetic retinopathy – that can result in vision impairment. The findings of our study raise questions about the causes of this trend in vision impairment, and our study may help inform future research as well as clinical interventions to ensure early detection and timely treatment of diabetic retinopathy and associated vision impairment. ”

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