HealthDay News — Many youths with diabetes do not receive eye examinations to screen for diabetic retinopathy by 6 years after initial diagnosis, according to a study published online in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Sophia Y. Wang, MD, from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving youths age 21 years or younger with newly diagnosed diabetes. The authors sought to examine the rate of obtaining ophthalmic examinations and factors associated with receipt of eye examinations.

The researchers found that 64.9% of 5,453 youths with type 1 diabetes and 42.2% of 7,233 youths with type 2 diabetes had undergone an eye examination by 6 years after initial diabetes diagnosis. 

The chance of undergoing an eye examination by 6 years was reduced for black and Latino youths versus white youths (adjusted hazard ratios [HR]: 0.89 and 0.82, respectively). 

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Youths were increasingly more likely to undergo an eye examination by 6 years after initial diabetes diagnosis as household net worth increased (net worth of ≥$500,000 vs <$25,000; HR: 1.50).

“These data suggest that adherence to clinical practice guidelines is particularly challenging for racial minorities and youths from less affluent families,” the authors write.

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  1. Wang SY, Andrews CA, Gardner TW, Wood M, singer K, Stein JD. Ophthalmic screening patterns among youths with diabetes enrolled in a large US managed care network [published online March 23, 2017]. JAMA Ophthalmol. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.0089
  2. Garg S. Diabetic retinopathy screening with telemedicine [published online March 23, 2017]. JAMA Ophthalmol. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.0150