An assessment of the coverage of a district-wide diabetic retinopathy screening service


H. N. Buch, Diabetes centre, New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton WV10 0QP, UK. E-mail:


Aims  To assess the coverage of the diabetes retinopathy screening service (DRSS) in North Staffordshire, to identify patient characteristies associated with non-attendance and to assess the proportion of patients with diabetic retinopathy who achieved glycaemic and blood pressure (BP) control targets.

Methods  Data for all patients who underwent annual retinal screening between 1 May 2000 and 30 April 2001 were obtained from the North Staffordshire Diabetes Register. Age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, type and duration of diabetes were compared between patients who underwent eye screening and those who did not. Frequencies of patients who achieved glycaemic and BP targets in these groups of patients were compared to the remaining patients.

Results  5646 of the 11682 (48%) patients on the diabetes register underwent retinal screening during the year. Patients with Type 2 diabetes, older patients, patients belonging to ethnic minorities and those wholly managed in primary care were less likely to attend for eye screening (P < 0.05 for all groups) with ethnic minority or primary care management demonstrating independent influence (P < 0.001). The percentage of patients with retinopathy achieving HbA1c and systolic BP targets was significantly lower than in their unaffected counterparts (χ2 = 63, P < 0.001 and χ2 = 71, P < 0.001 respectively).

Conclusions  The efficacy of the DRSS in North Staffordshire is low and might be improved by targeting specific patient groups. Glycaemic control and systolic BP control needs to be improved in patients with diabetic retinopathy.