(HealthDay News) — For patients with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy screening varies for different minority groups, according to research published in Diabetes Care.

Yang Lu, PhD, from Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute in St. Torrance, California, and colleagues examined perceived barriers to diabetic retinopathy screening in vulnerable populations using survey data collected from 101 patients with diabetes, including 71 Hispanics and 27 African-Americans.

The researchers found that most patients were aware of diabetic retinopathy as a potential complication of diabetes, and more than 75% reported that a physician had recommended diabetic retinopathy screening. However, only 55% reported screening in the previous year. 

African-American patients were screened 50% less often than Hispanic patients in the previous year (30.4% vs 62.7%; P<.01); this was in spite of reporting similar total number of barriers to screening (1.6 each; P=.99), similar awareness that diabetes may lead to diabetic retinopathy (100% vs 90%; P=.09), and similar likelihood of receiving a physician screening recommendation (78% vs 77%; P=.54).

“Our findings of a large discrepancy in [diabetic retinopathy] screening rates among safety-net minority communities may have important implications for consequent risk of blindness,” the researchers wrote. “Different approaches to encourage [diabetic retinopathy] screening may be necessary in different minority populations.”


  1. Yu L, Serpos L, Genter P, Mehranbod C, Campa D, Ipp E. Disparities in Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Rates Within Minority Populations: Differences in Reported Screening Rates Among African American and Hispanic Patients. Diabetes Care. 2015;doi:10.2337/dc15-2198.