November 28, 1990

Advances in Diabetic Retinopathy Could Save Sight, Money With More Frequent Eye Exams

JAMA. 1990;264(20):2608-2611. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450200014002

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EYE EXAMINATIONS every 6 months, it is argued, could save millions of dollars by detecting diabetic retinopathy before damage becomes irreversible.

"If the federal government provided funds to screen and treat patients who have diabetic eye disease, the actual cost to taxpayers in the long run would be far less" than paying for the disability of blindness, says Jonathan C. Javitt, MD, MPH, assistant professor of ophthalmology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, and associate director, Worthen Center for Eye Care Research, Washington, DC. He presented the analysis at a Research to Prevent Blindness seminar in Universal City, Calif.

The Georgetown study is expected to boost American Academy of Ophthalmology and National Eye Institute efforts to persuade physicians and patients to act on proven advances in preventing this leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans.

Another, very preliminary, study presented at the seminar suggests that antihistamines may prevent the process that