MINNETONKA, Minn. – According to a new study by UnitedHealthcare, comprehensive eye exams can help identify some chronic conditions, helping with early diagnosis so people can obtain appropriate treatment sooner and take steps to better manage their disease.
The Impact of Eye Exams in Identifying Chronic Conditions” demonstrates how eyecare professionals can play a key role in identifying people with various diseases and then working with primary care physicians to deliver holistic, patient-centered care.
The study is based on an extensive analysis of claims data for UnitedHealthcare plan participants with both medical and vision benefits. It concluded that eyecare professionals identified nearly 6 percent of the chronic conditions diagnosed among the study population. For certain diseases, including multiple sclerosis and diabetes, eyecare professionals identified 15 percent of study participants diagnosed with those chronic conditions. Other common conditions identified by eyecare professionals were high cholesterol and hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Graves disease.
More than 133 million people nationwide, or nearly one out of every two adults, suffer from at least one chronic condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly 26 million people have diabetes; 71 million have high LDL cholesterol; and 67 million have hypertension.