Increasing time since diabetes diagnosis is strongly associated with severe vision loss. A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist at least annually or biannually is recommended for persons with diabetes, to identify changes in the blood vessels of the retina. The effectiveness of treatment is well established, warranting screening for diabetic retinopathy and for assessing retinopathy progression. However, the use of select health screenings and therapeutic services may be less common in younger adults with diabetes.
A new NCHS Health E-Stat provides information on the percentage of U.S. adults with diagnosed diabetes who visited an eye doctor in the past year, by years since diabetes diagnosis and by age group, using data from the 2012–2013 National Health Interview Survey. Survey respondents were asked about having seen an “optometrist, ophthalmologist, or eye doctor” in the past year, but they were not asked about the services provided at the visit (including assessment of retinopathy).