December 12, 2012

Media Contact: Betsy Nisbet at 734-647-5586 or email

In JAMA editorial, Kellogg faculty comment on rise of vision impairment in the U.S. and its likely link with diabetes

Brehm Tower at the Kellogg Eye CenterAnn Arbor, MI—Vision loss in the U.S. increased sharply over the last decade, most likely due to the higher prevalence of diabetes, a new study shows. Kellogg epidemiologist David Musch, Ph.D., M.P.H., and diabetes specialist Thomas Gardner M.D., M.S.,  comment on this alarming trend—and its impact on young people—in an editorial in the December 12 issue of the Journal of the  American Medical Association (JAMA).  They note that “type 2 diabetes, a disease most commonly encountered in obese older persons, has become endemic in teenagers and young adults.”

The study findings, say Drs.  Musch and Gardner, are meaningful and should stimulate funding for new programs aimed at the underlying causes of diabetes, among them, obesity prevention programs aimed at children and adolescents.  In the JAMA editorial, they also say that lifestyle and socio-demographic factors have led to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and its consequences, including vision problems not attributable to refractive error.

"We know obesity is an important risk factor for diabetes, and we must learn from and support solid, evidence-based programs that aim to improve childhood nutrition and physical activity in schools, neighborhoods, and communities," said Dr. Musch in an interview with Medscape News.

Read the editorial at:

Diabetes and Nonrefractive Visual Impairment: The Young Have It.

Musch DC, Gardner TW. Diabetes and Nonrefractive Visual Impairment: The Young Have It. JAMA 2012;308(22):2403-2404. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.114286.

Read the study at:

Prevalence of Nonrefractive Visual Impairment in US Adults and Associated Risk Factors, 1999-2002 and 2005-2008

Ko F, Vitale S, Chou C-F, et al. Prevalence of nonrefractive visual impairment in US adults and associated risk factors, 1999-2002 and 2005-2008. JAMA 2012;308(22):2361-2368. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.85685.

Read the media coverage at:

Last Modified: Friday, 19-Apr-2013 12:57:18 EDT