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Vision Problems Rising Rapidly in the U.S.

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More Vision Problems to Come continued...

Alan N. Carlson, MD, says that it is too early to say that the increase in vision problems is driven by diabetes. “Diabetes is on the rise and vision problems are on the rise, and patients with diabetes are more likely to have eye problems, but that is all we can say right now.” He is the chief of the corneal and refractive surgery services at the Duke Eye Center in Durham, N.C.

“Certainly people need to be aware of the risks of getting nonrefractive vision impairment down the road,” he says. “If there is a family history of certain diseases like macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetes, you should be seen more regularly by an eye doctor to make sure these diseases are caught earlier when they are much more treatable.”

Roy Chuck, MD, PhD, is the chairman of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. He says the new findings make sense and mirror what he has seen in his practice. “If you have diabetes or are at risk of other vision problems, you have to get checked out to see if your vision is changing.”

The findings should also serve as a wake-up call for teens and young adults who are at risk for diabetes. “Things are not looking good for you if you are overweight, not eating right, and not getting exercise,” he says. “These nonrefractive eye problems often strike older people, but diabetes is the great equalizer.”

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