Too few diabetic kids screened for retinopathy

July 23, 2013

Some of the children who are at greatest risk for retinopathy may be the least likely to be screened for it, according to new research.

 

Some of the children who are at greatest risk for retinopathy may be the least likely to be screened for it, according to new research.

A recent study finds that of children with diagnosed type 1 diabetes, those who are black and those with poor diabetes control are least likely to receive yearly screening for retinopathy.

The study involved 1,112 children with type 1 diabetes. The researchers found that during the 2-year study period, not even two-thirds (64%) of all children in the study were screened with dilated eye exams, despite recommendations for yearly exams.

The investigators found that 66% of white children were screened, versus 54% of black children. Screening was also less likely in those who had the poorest glycemic control. The researchers reported that the likelihood of screening had nothing to do with whether a child had public or private health insurance.

Another study, co-authored by the one of the researchers of the current study, found that almost 14% of approximately 500 children who have had type 2 diabetes for about 5 years in duration have early signs of retinopathy.

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 215,000 people in the United States aged younger than 20 years have type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus; that’s about 1 in every 400 young people. The risk of diagnosed diabetes is about 77% higher among non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic white adults.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. 

 

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