Dr Allen Ho

Less than Half of US Adults Understand Their Risk for Vision Loss from Diabetes

A new survey at the start of Diabetes Awareness Month (by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.) has found that less than half of recently surveyed U.S. adults with diabetes recognize their risk for vision loss. The survey also found that less than one-fifth (18%) of respondents were familiar with diabetic macular edema (DME).

The survey found that nearly one third (30%) of respondents reported they do not get an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam, a test that can help to detect DME and diabetic retinopathy. Of those respondents who do not get an annual dilated eye exam, more than half (56%) were not aware that the exam is recommended by the National Eye Institute for people with diabetes or that it could help protect against vision loss associated with the disease.

“Getting an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam is a critical step that may help to prevent future vision loss by identifying issues early,” said Dr. Allen Ho, MD FACS, Director of Retina Research, Wills Eye Hospital and Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University. “These survey findings underscore the need for more awareness among the diabetes community about their risk for vision loss and what they can do help protect their vision.”

Additional findings from the online survey of 1,074 people living with diabetes include:

  • When thinking about diabetes complications, those surveyed said eye disease is the number two concern, behind cardiovascular disease.
  • Despite concerns, however, less than half (44 percent) of respondents said they were very knowledgeable about eye diseases that could result in vision loss.
  • Only one third (35 percent) of respondents said they were familiar with diabetic retinopathy, specifically.


The Diabetes Eye Health Survey, by Everyday Health, Inc., conducted a quantitative online survey among a representative sample of 1,074 U.S. adults diagnosed with diabetes. The survey was fielded August 4 – 17, 2015. The margin of sampling error at the 95 percent level of confidence is ±2.99 for total respondents (1,074).

Audiences surveyed included 1,074 U.S. adults who have diabetes, with 755 U.S. adults who have had an annual dilated eye exam, and 319 U.S. adults who have not had an annual dilated eye exam.


Posted in Diabetic Retinopathy and tagged , .