Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from BlackMansStreet.Today
African-Americans suffering from diabetes have higher rates of vision loss compared with other ethnic and racial groups, and poor access to eye exams play a role in the disparity, according to a study released by Johns Hopkins University and the University of Southern California.
African Americans suffer higher rates of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.
Diabetic macular edema (DME), one of the leading causes of blindness in diabetic patients in the U.S., occurs when fluid and protein accumulates on the macula of the eye, which is part of the retina, causing it to thicken and swell.
Central vision is affected and, if left untreated, it can lead to slight blurring or even blindness.
“We were surprised that our research showed that African Americans have the highest rates of DME, when Hispanics tend to have the highest prevalence of diabetes,” said Rohit Varma, professor and chair of ophthalmology at USC and director of the USC Eye Institute.
“There is not enough vision screening for DME among diabetics, yet there are much better therapies available that are covered by insurance.”
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Ophthalmology published the study online. Part of the study also was posted on Futurity Research News.
Diabetic eye disease is one of the leading causes of vision loss in people 20 to 70 years old.
The Centers for Disease and Prevention estimated that 25.8 million Americans had diabetes in 2010.