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Study assesses diabetic eye disease care pathways

The Diabetic Retinopathy Barometer Report: Global Findings, produced by the International Federation on Ageing, International Diabetes Federation and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, surveyed nearly 7,000 adults with diabetes and heath care professionals in 41 countries. It was produced with support from Bayer Pharma and sought to assess awareness of diabetic eye disease (DED) and barriers to diabetes managent.Findings included:

  • 27% of patients either never discussed eye complications with their doctor or did so only after the onset of symptoms
  • 38% of patients said long waits for an appointment were a barrier to eye exams
  • 59% of health care providers either didn’t have information on diabetes and potential eye complications, or had information which was insufficient
  • 21% of ophthalmologists had not received specific training in the treatment and diagnosis of DR and DME

{{quote-A:R-W:450-Q: Initiatives to address the gaps in the care pathway are essential to preventing unnecessary blindness and visual impairment }}“Ophthalmologists acknowledged the complex, and sometimes inadequate, patient referral pathways, a lack of integrated care, and ineffective screening services as serious systic challenges that contribute to poor overall outcomes in diabetic eye health,” the report stated.“A lack of understanding about the importance and urgency of timely screening and treatment could in part explain the finding from health professionals that patients present when vision loss had already occurred and sometimes too late for treatment,” the report noted.Of the adults with diabetes surveyed, 27% had a diabetic eye disease; 7.6% had DME. The health care providers surveyed included ophthalmologists (37%), diabetes specialists (17%) and primary care providers (16%). Other respondents were optometrists, nurses and health educators.“Initiatives to address the gaps in the care pathway are essential to preventing unnecessary blindness and visual impairment”, the report stated.