According to a new study of 1,500 children and young adults with type 1 or 2 diabetes 1/3 have not had eye exams or tests of long-term blood sugar control as recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Based on the ADA guidelines young people should have a hemoglobin A1C test at least twice a year (3 times if on insulin). This test gives the doctor a picture of the patient’s blood sugar control over the past few months, it is one of the keys to long term diabetes management. Based on the study findings 32 percent of kids and young adults were not being tested as often as the ADA advises.

Similarly 34 percent of the young people were not getting the recommended eye exams. The ADA recommends everyone with type 2 diabetes or have had type 1 for at least 5 years and are at least 10 years old, have an annual eye exam. The exams are to help screen for problems with blood vessels, which can be damaged by diabetes, and hopefully catch any problems early.

In the study it wasn’t clear why the tests weren’t being done, some speculation includes that teens aren’t as compliant about taking care of their diabetes as when their parents were in charge of their care. Children of low income families were less likely to get the tests, as well as those without insurance or had a change in physicians.

In the study the young people who were being treated by an endocrinologist, a diabetes specialist, were more likely to have had the tests than those who were just being seen by a general practitioner.

The full study findings can be found on this Pediatrics publication website.

JeanBrownResearch.com is a Salt Lake City based trial research organization, specializing in pain management and diabetic studies, among other types of  clinical trials. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook