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December 18, 1996

Blindness Caused by Diabetes— Massachusetts, 1987-1994

JAMA. 1996;276(23):1865-1866. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540230015010

DIABETES, the leading cause of new blindness among U.S. adults aged 20-74 years, accounts for approximately 8% of cases of legal blindness and 12% of all new cases of blindness in the United States each year.1 One of the national health objectives for the year 2000 is to decrease by 50% the incidence of blindness caused by diabetes (objective 17.10).2 However, surveillance for blindness among persons with diabetes has not been conducted nationally, and national prevalence estimates of blindness caused by diabetes have been based on state data from the register of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB). To characterize recent trends, data on legal blindness caused by diabetes among adults with diabetes in Massachusetts were examined for 1987-1994. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicate that in Massachusetts, the overall incidence and prevalence of legal blindness caused by