New Study Suggests Older Patients Have High Rates of Unmet Eye Care Needs

Armen Hareyan's picture
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BACKGROUND: Ophthalmologists commonly recommend that diabetics have their eyes checked yearly. This includes older patients, who are likelier to have cataracts, glaucoma, and other age-related eye conditions in addition to diabetic eye disease. This study surveyed and examined 418 patients age 65 and older with type 2 diabetes-311 in a managed care organization, 107 treated on a fee-for-service basis.

FINDINGS: On their dilated eye exams, the researchers found high rates of untreated eye disease. 42 percent of patients in managed care programs and 28 percent of the subjects in the fee-for-service group needed care within six months for treatable eye conditions. Dr. Arleen Brown, the lead author, noted that "many of the participants who had unmet needs for treatable eye conditions had seen their eye doctor in the previous 12 months.

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