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Popul Health Manag. 2010 Aug;13(4):195-9. doi: 10.1089/pop.2009.0050.

The role of comprehensive eye exams in the early detection of diabetes and other chronic diseases in an employed population.

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Human Capital Management Services, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001, USA.


The main objective of this study is to assess the cost benefit associated with comprehensive eye exams as a tool for the early detection of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. A retrospective, claims-based analysis was performed using U.S.-based employees and spouses from a large, national database. Individuals who received first notification of disease as a result of an eye exam were compared to individuals who did not receive early detection and presumably learned of their condition after further disease progression. Total health plan costs, lost time costs, and termination rates were calculated for the 12-month period after the index date. A sizable population first learned of their chronic condition through eye exams as no other claims-based evidence was found to suggest prior knowledge of the condition. All three disease cohorts with early detection during an eye exam had lower first-year health plan costs, missed fewer work days, and were less likely to terminate employment than the respective comparison groups. As employers strive to better manage health and business outcomes, comprehensive eye health exams can provide an opportunity for early disease detection and associated cost savings through referral to primary care providers and condition management programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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