Diabetic Retinopathy is a microvascular complication of diabetes, that can go undetected and unnoticed until irreversible damage and even blindness has occurred. Effective screening for diabetic retinopathy has been proven to reduce the risk of sight loss. The National Health Service (NHS) which provides healthcare for all UK citizens, implemented systematic retinal screening for diabetic retinopathy in England in 2003, with the aim of identifying and treating all patients with sight threatening retinopathy. Crucial to this is patients partaking in the programme. Therefore, increasing screening uptake has been a major focus of the programme. This review explores the views of people living with diabetes who do not attend retinal screening, their characteristics, concerns, experiences of retinal screening and their understanding of the risks of diabetic retinopathy. All studies that satisfied the study inclusion criteria on ‘patients’ non-attendance at retinal screening’, between 2003 to 2017 were included after extensive database search. A total of 16 studies were included in the review. Findings showed that socio-economic deprivation was a major risk factor for non-attendance, about 11.5–13.4% of the screened population had sight threatening retinopathy (STDR), repeated nonattendance was linked to sight threatening diabetic retinopathy, and that certain factors, could be barriers or incentives for screening uptake. Some of those factors are modifiable whilst others are not.
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