Data show possible ‘early warning’ of greater visual impairment in diabetics



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

Disclosures: Lundeen does not report any relevant financial information. Please see the poster for relevant financial information from other authors.

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NEW ORLEANS — Visual impairment in 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. Visual impairment in adults with diabetes declined in the first decade of this century, but researchers have observed an increase since 2012.

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“Although this latest trend of increasing prevalence of visual impairment from 2012 to 2018 did not reach statistical significance, it could be an early warning that trends in visual impairment among people with diabetes are going to increase. in the wrong direction”, Elizabeth Lundeen, PhD, MPH, senior scientist for the Vision Health Initiative at CDC, Healio told Healio. “A number of factors could influence these results, such as changes in blood sugar management in people with diabetes or changes in vision screening or health care utilization in this population.”

elizabeth lunden

Lundeen and colleagues assessed 20-year self-reported US National Health Survey data from more than 52,166 participants with diabetes. Half of the respondents said they had consulted an ophthalmologist in the past year, and this proportion was constant over 20 years. Overall, about one in five respondents reported visual impairment, defined as difficulty seeing even with glasses or contact lenses. Based on a 3-year rolling average, the researchers observed an overall non-statistically significant decrease in visual impairment in adults with diabetes from 1999 to 2018, from 21.5% to 20.7%. However, this trend masks a decrease from 1999 to 2012, from 21.5% to 17.7% (P

“We were very interested in exploring these 20-year trends in visual impairment in adults with diabetes due to recent studies that showed changes in glycemic control in people with diabetes over this time period” , said Lundeen. “For example, one study found that over the period from 20072010 to 20152018, there was a decline in glycemic control in American adults with diabetes. Decreased glycemic control can potentially lead to worsening eye complications – such as diabetic retinopathy – which can lead to visual impairment. The results of our study raise questions about the causes of this trend in visual impairment, and our study may help inform future research as well as clinical interventions to ensure early detection and prompt treatment of diabetic retinopathy and associated visual impairment.

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