To investigate the reasons for delays in seeking medical care in patients with diabetic retinopathy and associated risk factors.
We retrospectively reviewed data for patients with sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy (STDR) who attended a hospital in China. Various forms of STDR were identified, including severe non-proliferative DR, clinically significant macular edema and proliferative DR. Demographic, clinical and socioeconomic information was collected and the associated risk factors were evaluated.
Of the 127 patients with STDR, 89.2% sought medical care within 1 month of developing symptoms. Those who sought treatment ≥6 months after symptoms developed had significantly lower income and less knowledge of diabetic complications than those who attended earlier. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that no or infrequent routine examination for diabetic complications were associated with long delays in seeking medical care (odds ratio (OR) 3.06, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05-9.19; and OR 2.91, 95% CI 1.04-8.40, respectively).
Most patients with STDR sought medical care within 1 month of symptoms developing, but no or infrequent routine examination for diabetic complications was associated with long delays. These results stress the importance of educational programs regarding diabetic complications to encourage timely medical care and prevent poor outcomes.