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Fewer Diabetic Vision Problems Reported: CDC
Date:11/17/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- People with diabetes are reporting fewer vision problems, a new U.S. government report shows.

Since 1997 the percentage of diabetics reporting vision problems dropped from 26 percent to 18.6 percent, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

"Our findings are consistent with other findings," said lead researcher Nilka Burrows, a CDC epidemiologist. "There is better blood glucose control, blood pressure control and cholesterol control in people with diabetes."

So, part of the reason for this finding is better management of diabetes, Burrows said, adding that aging had little or no effect on the trend for fewer vision problems.

Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that this decline in reported vision problems among diabetics "is encouraging, but there may be a false sense of reassurance here."

Sood noted that when newly diagnosed diabetics have been living with their condition for five or 10 years, "the percentage of patients with vision impairment might increase dramatically."

One of the limitations of the study is that the data is self-reported so it isn't really clear how serious the vision problems are, Burrows noted.

The report was published in the Nov. 18 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a CDC publication.

Diabetes can lead to vision problems, and even to blindness. It is the leading cause of blindness among adults in the United States, Burrows said.

For the study, Burrows' team used data from the 1997-2010 National Health Interview Survey. In the survey, people with diabetes were asked if they had any trouble seeing and whether they had seen an eye doctor in the past year.

Between 1997 and 2010, the number of diabetics with vision problems increased from 2.7 million to 3.9 million, the researche
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