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Visual Loss Lower in Recently Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetics

Better glycemic control and more timely interventions may contribute to lower prevalence

TUESDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) in more recent years have less prevalence of visual impairment than those diagnosed earlier, according to a study in the October issue of Ophthalmology.

Ronald Klein, M.D., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues assessed 955 people, 4 to 80 years old, who lived in an 11-county area of Wisconsin and were diagnosed with T1DM before 30 years of age. The patients were grouped by age of diagnosis (before 1960, 1960 through 1969, 1970 through 1974, and 1975 through 1979). Five eye examinations occurred during different time periods between 1980 and 2007. Visual impairment was assessed using a modification of the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy protocol.

The researchers found that, for individuals with T1DM of similar duration, the prevalence of visual impairment was lower in individuals more recently diagnosed than in those diagnosed earlier. After controlling for glycosylated hemoglobin, blood pressure and other related factors the association remained unchanged.

"Observed differences in health care (e.g., better control of glycemia and blood pressure and timely retinal photocoagulation) over the 25 years of the study may explain, in part, some of these findings," the authors write.

The lead author reported financial and consulting relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.

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