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Diabetics have high rates of eye diseases

Posted - Nov. 19, 2004 at 3:20 p.m.



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ATLANTA, Nov 19, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Disabling vision loss and eye diseases disproportionately afflict people suffering from diabetes compared to healthy people, U.S. health officials said.

An analysis of national data from 2002 found that the rate of diabetics over the age of 50 with visual impairment was nearly twice that of those of the same age without diabetes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials reported in the agency's journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The diabetics had higher rates of diabetic retinopathy (a condition that can lead to blindness), cataracts and glaucoma. Women diabetics had higher rates of visual impairment than men.

CDC officials note that diabetes is increasing in the United States. They advise health care professionals to "check for eye diseases and diabetic retinopathy when evaluating persons with diabetes."

In addition, the officials wrote, "yearly dilated eye examinations should be part of diabetes management in addition to managing hyperglycemia, hypertension, and lipid abnormalities."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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