Predictors of attendance at diabetic retinopathy screening among people with type 2 diabetes: Secondary analysis of data from primary care

Published:September 11, 2021DOI:


      • First study of uptake to examine a mix of private and public screening services.
      • Most people managed in a diabetes care programme attended retinopathy screening.
      • One third of those who attended screening attended other screening services only.
      • Attendees more likely to use oral hypoglycaemic agents or injectables.
      • Attendees more likely to have on target blood glucose and attend DNS.



      To estimate the uptake of diabetic retinopathy screening among adults with type 2 diabetes and to identify and compare factors associated with attendance at the national diabetic retinal screening programme, and other screening services provided by ophthalmic surgeons, community ophthalmologists and optometrists.


      An observational retrospective cohort study was carried out using data from the 2016 audit of care delivered by general practices (n = 30) enrolled in a structured diabetes care initiative.
      Attendance at any screening in the previous 12 months, and attendance across different types of service (national programme and other screening services) was calculated. Logistic regression was performed to examine predictors associated with (1) attendance at any screening and (2) attendance at the national programme (RetinaScreen). Sociodemographic, clinical, and lifestyle factors were examined as predictors.


      Data were available for 1106 people with type 2 diabetes aged ≥18 years.
      Overall, 863 (78%) of patients had a record of screening attendance in the previous 12 months. Of those screened, 494 (57.2%) attended RetinaScreen only, 258 (28.7%) attended other screening services only, and 111 (12.9%) attended both services.
      Statistically significant predictors of attendance at any screening were tablet/injectable controlled diabetes, attendance at a diabetes nurse specialist (DNS) in the past 12 months and a blood glucose level which was not on target (HbA1c >7.0% or >53 mmol/mol). In addition to these factors, when examining predictors of attendance at the national screening programme specifically, females were less likely to attend.


      Most patients managed in a structured diabetes care programme in primary care attended screening. Those with on target blood glucose control, those who were on oral or injectable medication or had been seen by a DNS were more likely to attend for annual screening. Of those who attended screening, almost one-third attended other screening services and so were not availing of the national programme, which is free, quality assured and has an integrated treatment arm.


      DNS (diabetes nurse specialist), MDSCP (Midlands Diabetes Structured Care Programme), CI (confidence interval), OR (odds ratio)


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