Abstract Title

Is Diabetes a Risk Factor for Blindness in Males 35 and Older?

Presenter Name

Madison F. Hamilton, PA-S

RAD Assignment Number

802

Abstract

Introduction: The incidence of blindness has reached an all time high and is expected to increase exponentially within the next forty years (1). Previous studies have found that diabetes is the most common cause of blindness in working age adults (2). However, blindness due to diabetes has also shown a multi-peak age distribution, peaking in young adults and over 60 years old. The purpose of this study was to assess whether diabetes is a risk factor for blindness in males 35 and older.

Methods: BRFSS data from 2014 was used for men 35 and older from New Mexico, Kentucky, Montana and Mississippi in this cross-sectional analysis. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the relationship between diabetes and blindness, while controlling for weight status, education level, health care access, lifetime diagnosis of stroke, chronic health problems and ethnicity/ race.

Results: A low percentage of males age 35 and older reported blindness (5-10%) or diabetes (11-18%). In multiple logistic regression analysis, blindness was significantly related to diabetes in Kentucky, New Mexico and Montana (moderate to large effect sizes) and significantly related to chronic health problems in all four states (large effect sizes).

Conclusions: Although this study was unable to determine temporal relations, we found that blindness was related to diabetes and chronic health problems in general population samples of males 35 and older. Even though diabetes and blindness may have a low prevalence in primary care, providers should expect them to be related and should screen for both if male patients 35 and older present with symptoms of either, which is common practice. Chronic health problems (52-65%) are more prevalent than blindness and diabetes in males 35 and older, and if present, patients should be screened for vision loss.

Research Area

Diabetes

Presentation Type

Poster

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Is Diabetes a Risk Factor for Blindness in Males 35 and Older?

Introduction: The incidence of blindness has reached an all time high and is expected to increase exponentially within the next forty years (1). Previous studies have found that diabetes is the most common cause of blindness in working age adults (2). However, blindness due to diabetes has also shown a multi-peak age distribution, peaking in young adults and over 60 years old. The purpose of this study was to assess whether diabetes is a risk factor for blindness in males 35 and older.

Methods: BRFSS data from 2014 was used for men 35 and older from New Mexico, Kentucky, Montana and Mississippi in this cross-sectional analysis. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the relationship between diabetes and blindness, while controlling for weight status, education level, health care access, lifetime diagnosis of stroke, chronic health problems and ethnicity/ race.

Results: A low percentage of males age 35 and older reported blindness (5-10%) or diabetes (11-18%). In multiple logistic regression analysis, blindness was significantly related to diabetes in Kentucky, New Mexico and Montana (moderate to large effect sizes) and significantly related to chronic health problems in all four states (large effect sizes).

Conclusions: Although this study was unable to determine temporal relations, we found that blindness was related to diabetes and chronic health problems in general population samples of males 35 and older. Even though diabetes and blindness may have a low prevalence in primary care, providers should expect them to be related and should screen for both if male patients 35 and older present with symptoms of either, which is common practice. Chronic health problems (52-65%) are more prevalent than blindness and diabetes in males 35 and older, and if present, patients should be screened for vision loss.