Get access

Diabetic retinopathy screening: perspectives of people with diabetes, screening intervals and costs of attending screening


Seow Tien Yeo, Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation, IMSCaR, College of Health and Behavioural Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, LL57 1UT, UK. E-mail:


Diabet. Med. 29, 878–885 (2012)


Aims  To obtain the views of people with diabetes about the provision of diabetic retinopathy screening services; and the interval of screening.

Methods  Between October 2009 and January 2010, people with diabetes attending diabetic retinopathy screening clinics across Wales were asked to complete a questionnaire comprising of two parts: the first asking about their health, diabetes history, demographic characteristics and views about the diabetic retinopathy screening service, and the second asking about the costs of attending the screening.

Results  The response rate was 40% (n = 621) from 1550 questionnaires distributed at diabetic retinopathy clinics, with 600 complete responses analysed. Respondents had a mean known duration of diabetes of 8.5 years (sd 7.8) and had attended for screening on average 3.2 times (sd 1.6) in the last 5 years. Sixty-eight per cent (n = 408) of respondents reported having their eyes screened approximately once a year. Eighty-five per cent (n = 507) felt that they should have their eyes screened every year. However, 65% (= 390) of respondents would accept screening at 2- or 3-year intervals if medical evidence showed that it was safe. The reported personal costs incurred by respondents attending diabetic retinopathy screening were low.

Conclusion  Our study suggests that people with diabetes undergoing diabetic retinopathy screening would accept a greater screening interval, provided that adequate clinical evidence and medical reassurance were given.