HealthDay News — For patients with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening varies for different minority groups, according to research published online December 30 in Diabetes Care.

Yang Lu, PhD, from Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute in St. Torrance, California, and colleagues examined perceived barriers to DR 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 DR as a potential complication of diabetes, and more than 75% reported that a physician had recommended DR 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 versus 62.7%; P < 0.01); this was in spite of reporting similar total number of barriers to screening (1.6 each; P = 0.99), similar awareness that diabetes may lead to DR (100 versus 90%; P = 0.09), and similar likelihood of receiving a physician screening recommendation (78 versus 77%; P = 0.54).

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

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