Report: DME more prevalent in African-Americans

August 26, 2014

African-Americans seem to be at higher risk for diabetic macular edema (DME), according to research by the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC).

 

Los Angeles-African-Americans seem to be at higher risk for diabetic macular edema (DME), according to research by the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC).

The research-published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Ophthalmology-found a higher burden of diabetes-related vision loss among certain ethnic populations because of problems with access to care, explained corresponding author Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, director of the USC Eye Institute, professor and chairman of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

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“We were surprised that our research showed that African-Americans have the highest rates of DME, when Hispanics tend to have the highest prevalence of diabetes,” Dr. Varma said. “There is not enough vision screening for DME among diabetics, yet there are much better therapies available that are covered by insurance.

“We hope that our research will help those in the position to influence policy to get a better handle on costs and where the need for treatment is the greatest,” he continued.

 

Dr. Varma’s team conducted the study by using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) database.

The next target for research in this area, Dr. Varma said, will be examining barriers to access to eye care among African Americans.

 

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