Editorial |

Diabetes and Obesity:  A Challenge for Every Ophthalmologist

Thomas W. Gardner, MD, MS; Robert A. Gabbay, MD, PhD
Arch Ophthalmol. 2009;127(3):328-329. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2009.13.
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The United States has fought many battles, from the Revolutionary War to recent wars on poverty, drugs, and terror. Medicine and ophthalmology now face a widening battlefront against diabetes-induced vision loss. Globally, more than 1 billion adults are overweight and least 300 million are obese,1 including 34% of American adults older than 20 years.2 The increase in obesity has led to a doubling of the prevalence of diabetes in the last decade, and up to one-third of children born in 2000 will develop diabetes during their lifetime.3 Twenty-four million Americans (8%) have known diabetes, and 57 million have prediabetes.4 By 2050, the number of Americans with diabetic retinopathy is projected to triple from 5.5 million to 16 million, and the number of those with vision-threatening retinopathy will increase from 1.2 million to 3.4 million. The number of cataracts will increase by 235% and glaucoma among elderly Hispanic individuals with diabetes will increase 12-fold!5

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