Examining Barriers to Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

HealthDay News — Patients and health care providers have markedly divergent perceptions of barriers to diabetic retinopathy screening, according to a study published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Chronic Disease.

Yang Lu, PhD, from the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues collected survey data from 101 patients (41% male; 70% Hispanic) with diabetes and 44 providers and staffers at a safety-net clinic where annual diabetic retinopathy screening rates were low.

The researchers found that 55% of patients received diabetic retinopathy screening in the previous year. More barriers to screening were reported in patients who could not explain why this screening is needed (P =.02). 

Patients and staff differed in reporting of important barriers. Providers considered the following very or extremely important (P <.001): transportation (15%), language issues (15%), cultural beliefs or myths (4%), denial (8%), and fear (5%). For patients, financial burdens (26%) and depression (22%) were most commonly reported as barriers considered very or extremely important (P <.001).

“These results suggest a need for active community engagement to find key elements for education programs and other interventions to increase rates of diabetic retinopathy screening, particularly among low-income, minority populations,” the researchers wrote.

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  1. Lu Y, Serpas L, Genter P, Anderson B, Campa D. Divergent perceptions of barriers to diabetic retinopathy screening among patients and care providers, Los Angeles, California, 2014–2015. Prev Chronic Dis. 2016;13:160193. doi:10.5888/pcd13.160193.