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UM study finds many children with diabetes not getting eye exams

Centers for Disease Control

A new University of Michigan study finds a large percentage of children with diabetes are not getting necessary vision exams.

Dr. Joshua Stein is with the Kellogg Eye Center at UM. He says the study found 65% of children with Type 1 Diabetes and only 42% of those with Type 2 Diabetes receive recommended eye exams during the next five or six years.

Stein says the finding is significant since vision damage is a serious complication of diabetes in people under 21.

“If it’s detected early there are ways we can better control the blood sugar and the blood pressure to prevent it from getting worse,” says Stein.

Stein suspects a big part of the problem lays with parents unable to juggle multiple doctor’s appointments. 

“If all that could be done at the same visit (with a pediatrician) that can help a lot in identifying patients who are most at risk of  Diabetic Retinopathy complications,” says Stein.

Stein says the problem is worse among racial minorities and economically disadvantaged children. 

The study appears in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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