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Many Women Age 40 and Older Avoid Follow-Up Eye Care

Women cite cost, lack of insurance as top reasons for forgoing recommended care

MONDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Despite self-reported diagnoses of diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), many women aged 40 and older do not receive eye care in the recommended follow-up period due to cost, lack of insurance coverage, or believing there is no reason for follow-up care, according to a report published in the May 21 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC evaluated data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for 19 U.S. states between 2006 and 2008 to assess the use of professional eye care among women aged 40 and older.

The researchers found that 21 percent of women with self-reported diabetic retinopathy did not visit an eye care provider within the recommended follow-up period, with 12 percent of women with self-reported glaucoma and 8 percent with ARMD not receiving follow-up care. Women without insurance coverage or not routinely undergoing medical check-ups were more likely not to obtain recommended follow-up eye care. The two most common reasons given for not having a follow-up eye care visit were cost or lack of insurance coverage and having no reason for follow-up care.

"Compliance with obtaining eye examinations at recommended intervals among women aged ≥40 years with eye diseases might be enhanced by improving access to health care and implementing and expanding existing educational programs to raise awareness regarding the importance of routine follow-up eye examinations," the authors write.

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