Systematic Review on Barriers and Facilitators for Access to Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Services

Nishantha Piyasena M Prabhath, G.V.S. Murthy, J.L. Yip, Clare Gilbert, M. Zuurmond, Tunde Peto, I. Gordon, S. Hewage, S. Kamalakannan

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review

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Objectives The aim of this systematic review is to identify the barriers/enablers for the people with diabetes (PwDM) in accessing DRS services (DRSS) and challenges/facilitators for the providers.

Background Diabetic retinopathy (DR) can lead to visual impairment and blindness if not detected and treated in time. Achievement of an acceptable level of screening coverage is a challenge in any setting. Both patient-related and provider-related factors affect provision of DR screening (DRS) and uptake of services.

Methods We searched MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL in the Cochrane Library from the databases start date to September 2016. We included the studies reported on barriers and enablers to access DRS by PwDM and studies which have assessed barriers or facilitators experienced by the providers in provision of DRSS. We identified and classified the studies that used quantitative or qualitative methods for data collection and analysis in reporting themes of barriers and enablers.

Main Results We included 63 studies primarily describing the barriers and enablers. The findings of these studies were based on PwDM from different socio-economic backgrounds and different levels of income settings. Most of the studies were from high income settings (48/63, 76.2%) and cross sectional in design (49/63, 77.8%). From the perspectives of users, lack of knowledge, attitude, awareness and motivation were identified as major barriers to access DRSS. The enablers to access DRSS were fear of blindness, proximity of screening facility, experiences of vision loss and being concerned of eye complications. Providers often mentioned that lack of awareness and knowledge among the PwDM was the main barrier to access. In their perspective lack of skilled human resources, training programs and infrastructure of retinal imaging and cost of services were the main obstacles in provision of screening services.

Conclusion Knowing the barriers to access DRS is a pre-requisite in development of a successful screening program. The awareness, knowledge and attitude of the consumers, availability of skilled human resources and infrastructure emerged as the major barriers to access to DRS in any income setting.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputPre-print
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


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