Diabetes is a leading cause of vision disability and the leading cause of new cases of blindness among working-age adults in the United States. And African Americans are twice as likely as Whites to be at risk for diabetes.
But a new study by researchers at the University of Alabama Birmingham finds that many African Americans who have been diagnosed with diabetes are not receiving recommended eye care. The study found that for low-income Black patients who had been diagnosed with diabetes, only 33 percent had eye examinations with one year and only 45 percent had eye examinations within two years. Eye care rates were lower for younger African Americans who had been diagnosed with diabetes.
Paul McLennan, an assistant professor in the ophthalmology department at the University of Alabama Birmingham and the lead author of the article, stated, “The differences in eye-care utilization by age group suggest that additional education efforts to increase the perception of need among urban minority populations may be enhanced if focused on younger people with diabetes.”