Study urges U.S. Hispanics to Keep an Eye on Diabetes to Avoid Vision Loss

Hispanic couple

Results from the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) confirm that diabetes is a top risk factor for vision loss in this ethnic group. LALES and other large studies have found that people who have diabetes are more likely to develop serious and potentially blinding diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, cataract and glaucoma. And Hispanics are more likely to develop diabetes than other groups: for example, Mexican Americans are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to have the disease. If current trends continue, Hispanic children born in 2000 will have a 1 in 2 lifetime risk of developing diabetes.  

Clearly, preventing diabetes or catching and treating it and any related eye diseases in their early stages would go a long way to improving Hispanics' vision health. The study urges health care systems and providers to focus resources on this issue, especially given that Hispanics are the fastest-growing group in the United States. LALES researchers also recommend that people always be asked about their vision during health checkups, since a self-reported eyesight problem is a strong indicator that vision loss is about to occur. If such patients receive thorough exams and care as needed, the burden of vision loss in US Hispanics could be reduced.

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