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[IP] Study questions diabetic eye exams



http://www.msnbc.com/news/370556.asp

Yearly vision screenings may bring only minimum benefits
People with adult-onset diabetes are currently urged to get yearly eye
screenings to prevent blindness.

Feb. 15 —  Annual eye exams for people who have the most common form of
diabetes — the practice currently recommended by doctors — may not be worth
the cost and inconvenience, researchers reported Tuesday.

 ‘Resources and energies that can be saved from not having annual exams for
everyone can be directed toward more effective interventions.’
— SANDEEP VIJAN
lead author          “IF GLUCOSE control is reasonable and if there is no
history of diabetic eye disease, it may not be necessary to get an eye exam
every year,” said Sandeep Vijan of the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare
System in Michigan.
       “For many patients there are minimal benefits with annual versus every
second or third year eye exams, but health care costs and patient
inconvenience increase substantially,” added Vijan, the chief author of the
report which was published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical
Association.
       Those who suffer from adult-onset diabetes, a form of the disease that
usually appears only after age 40, have been urged to get yearly eye
screenings to prevent blindness.

       Laser surgery can be used against diseases affecting the blood vessels
of the retina and to reduce the accumulation of liquid in the part of the eye
involved in focusing.
       But the report from the veterans center and the University of Michigan,
which was based on a computer analysis of a group of hypothetical diabetic
patients, cast doubt on the need for an annual exam.

         “Resources and energies that can be saved from not having annual
exams for everyone can be directed toward more effective interventions,” Vijan
said.
       “Diabetes is a complex illness which places a high burden on patient
time and effort, and streamlining interventions may allow for focus on other
important areas, such as blood pressure control and blood sugar control.”

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