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J Natl Med Assoc. 2009 May;101(5):430-7.

Disparities in diabetic retinopathy screening and disease for racial and ethnic minority populations--a literature review.

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  • 1General Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-4085, USA.


Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. This sight-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minority populations. Tight glycemic control and routine eye screening can diminish the public health impact of this devastating condition in minority communities. However, racial and ethnic minority patients are more likely to have poorer glycemic control and are less likely to be screened for diabetic retinopathy than their white counterparts. Patient, provider, and health care system factors play a role in these disparities. While public health interventions are necessary on a large scale to preserve vision in minority communities, it is also essential that individual health care providers better understand the impact of diabetic retinopathy on minority communities and the available interventions to reduce its impact. Maximizing their efforts to improve diabetes-related vision care for their racial and ethnic minority patients can lead to a decrease in diabetic retinopathy disparities.

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