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Eye Exam Visits Low Among People with Diabetes

Diabetes Care; ePub 2019 Jan 24; Benoit, et al

The frequency of eye exams was alarmingly low among people with diabetes, according to a recent study. Researchers used claims data from IBM Watson Health to identify patients with diabetes and continuous insurance coverage from 2010 to 2014. Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy (DR) were defined using ICD-9 Clinical Modification codes. Eye exam visit frequency by diabetes type was calculated over a 5-year period. They found:

  • Among the 298,383 insured patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and no diagnosed DR, almost half had no eye exam visits over the 5-year period and only 15.3% met the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations for annual or biennial eye exams.
  • For the 2,949 patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D), one-third had no eye exam visits and 26.3% met ADA recommendations.
  • The 5-year period prevalence and cumulative incidence of DR was 24.4% and 15.8% for patients with T2D, respectively, and 54.0% and 33.4% for patients with T1D.


Benoit SR, Swenor B, Geiss LS, Gregg EW, Saaddine JB. Eye care utilization among insured people with diabetes, U.S. 2010–2014. [Published online ahead of print January 24, 2019]. Diabetes Care. doi:10.2337/dc18-0828.