Annual Eye Exams Unnecessary for Some
Children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes may onlyneed eye exams every 2 years, according to a studyreported in Diabetes Care (March 2005). The findingswere based on >1000 young individuals with the disease.The purpose was to evaluate the natural history of retinaldisease and to decide appropriate screening intervals. Forthe study, the participants were separated into 2 agegroups based on whether they were older or younger than11 years of age. The participants were also put into 2 categories:higher risk if diabetes duration was longer than 10years or if blood sugar levels were not well controlled.
After 1 year, no major change in retinal scans wasobserved in either age group or in the high-risk group. A2-year follow-up found that retinal damage deterioratedsignificantly in the older age group. Yet, it took 6 yearsbefore a change was seen in the younger group. Theresearchers also noted a similar pattern in relation toblood sugar control. Retinal damage increased after 2years in the poor control group, but not until 3 years in thegroup with consistently stable control.