Nearly 30 percent of diabetic American adults are believed to suffer from diabetic retinopathy.
A Journal of the American Medical Association study reported that 4 percent of diabetic American adults are said to have a form of the condition that is vision-threatening.
Characterized by retinal damage due to diabetes mellitus complications, diabetic retinopathy is the primary cause of new cases of legal blindness among 20- to 74-year old Americans.
A study was conducted between 2005 and 2008 involving more than 1,000 individuals suffering from diabetes. The main objective of the study was to pinpoint the most recent prevalence and risk factors of diabetic retinopathy among Americans over 40 years of age.
Compared to a similar study conducted from 1988 to 1994, the current findings reported an increase of about 40 percent for those suffering from diabetic retinopathy and a two and a half-time increase for diabetics with vision-threatening conditions.
The study also found out that being male, having higher hemoglobin A1c levels, using insulin, having diabetes for a longer time period, and having a higher systolic blood are independent risk factors for the condition. Researchers say that these pieces of information are vital to detect and treat diabetic retinopathy in its earlier stages.
Controlling blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure are advised for diabetics in order to prevent diabetic retinopathy and other complications.