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Poor Vision Remains Undertreated in Adult Diabetics

Two-thirds of those with vision impairment could be prescribed adequate correction

FRIDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- More than 10 percent of adult diabetics who are not blind in one or both eyes have some sort of vision impairment, and two-thirds of those could be easily corrected with proper spectacle or contact lens prescription, according to a report in the Nov. 3 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 1999-2004 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to determine the proportion of adult diabetics with visual impairment who could benefit from vision correction. Visual impairment was defined as presenting with a best-corrected visual acuity less than 20/40.

The investigators report that 11 percent of diabetics aged 20 years and older who were not blind in one or both eyes had vision impairment. Proper spectacle or contact lens prescriptions would have given functional vision to 65.5 percent of these visually impaired adults. Spectacles or contact lenses would have provided normal vision to 73.4 percent of those with mild impairment and 9.1 percent of those with severe impairment.

"Health care providers and persons with diabetes should be more aware that poor vision often is correctable and that visual corrections can reduce the risk for injury and improve the quality of life for persons with diabetes," the report states.

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