Dr. David S. Friedman, the Alfred Sommer Professor at the Wilmer Eye Institute and director of Wilmer's Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, is the senior author on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) linking increased rates of vision loss in U.S. adults to increased rates of diabetes. Friedman and his fellow researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and analyzed a variety of factors associated with visual impairment - older age, poverty, lower education level and diagnosis of diabetes 10 or more years ago.
Only rates of diabetes, and in particular, diabetes of 10 or more years duration, had increased during the time periods of their study. It is therefore likely that increasing diabetes prevalence and longer duration of diabetes are leading to an overall increase in visual impairment. Dr. Friedman and colleagues recommended continued monitoring of the vision health of patients with diabetes in addition to more research on the causes, prevention and treatment of vision loss.