Are Annual Eye Exams For Diabetics Cost-Effective?

May 5, 2011

Because diabetics are at risk for eye problems, among their health maintenance check ups is an annual eye exam.  Doctors check the eyes for signs of retinopathy, among other things.

Authors of a recent study questioned whether annual eye exams were the most cost-effective way of screening for eye conditions in this population, and compared it with two treatment alternatives: telemedicine and exams every two years instead of every year.  Telemedicine involves exams using voice or visual interaction with a doctor who is in a different location than the patient.

By examining the literature and existing surveys, the researchers showed that either telemedicine or check ups every two years was more cost-effective than an annual exam.  They commented that seeing the doctor for the full exam annually added little benefit in detecting diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetes affects an estimated 10 million people between the ages of 30-84.

For an abstract of the article, click here.

Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory




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