Objective To assess the association between awareness of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and actual attendance for DR screening. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Two public general outpatient clinics. Participants The subjects were people with diabetes mellitus (DM) who participated in a randomised controlled trial, set up in 2008 to test the impact of a copayment on attendance for DR screening. Primary and secondary outcome measures The subjects' awareness of DR was evaluated using a structured questionnaire conducted via a telephone interview. The attendance for screening was from the actual attendance data. Association between awareness and attendance for screening was determined using multivariate logistic regression model and was reported as ORs. Results A total of 2593 participants completed the questionnaire. A total of 42.9% (1113/2593) said they would worry if they had any vision loss and 79.6% (2063/2593) knew that DM could cause blindness. Only 17.5% (453/2593) knew that treatment was available for DR and 11.5% (297/2593) knew that early DR could be asymptomatic. The importance of having a regular eye examination was acknowledged by 75.7% (1964/2593), but 34% (881/2593) did not know how frequently their eyes should be examined. Worry about vision loss (OR=1.72, P<0.001), awareness of the importance of regular eye examination (OR=1.83, P=0.002) and awareness of the frequency of eye examinations ('every year' (OR=2.64, P<0.001) or 'every 6 months' (OR=3.27, P<0.001)) were the most significant factors associated with attendance. Conclusions Deficits in knowledge of DR and screening were found among subjects with DM, and three awareness factors were associated with attendance for screening. These factors could be targeted for future interventions.
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