Eye care for elderly Americans with diabetes mellitus. Failure to meet current guidelines

Ophthalmology. 1996 Nov;103(11):1744-50. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(96)30432-6.


Purpose: The purpose of the study is to understand current pattern of eye care use among people with diabetes.

Methods: Study population included 175,015 Medicare beneficiaries who had physician-diagnosed diabetes. The authors estimated overall rate of eye care visits among these beneficiaries in 1992 and 1993 using Medicare physician claims data. In combination of Area Resource File, the authors examined association of eye care use with demographic characteristics, regional socio-economic characteristics, and regional eye care provider supply.

Results: Fifty-three percent of the population had at least 1 eye care visit in a 1-year period and 67% in a 2-year period. Younger age (ages < 75 years), male gender, black race, high regional poverty, and fewer ophthalmologist supply were related to lower rate of eye care use. There was no association between eye care use and regional education level and optometrist supply.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that a large portion of elderly people with diabetes is not obtaining the necessary eye care, especially blacks, men, and those residing in poor areas with fewer ophthalmologists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Eye Diseases / etiology
  • Eye Diseases / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Planning Guidelines*
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • Ophthalmology / statistics & numerical data
  • Optometry / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Whites