Conducting community-based, culturally specific, eye disease screening clinics for urban African Americans with diabetes

Ethn Dis. Summer 2002;12(3):404-10.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the need for, and efficacy of, community-based culturally specific eye disease screening clinics for urban African Americans with diabetes. The study employed a variety of culturally specific methods in the design and performance of 43 community-based eye disease screening clinics in southeastern Michigan. One thousand, thirty-seven subjects were recruited for the study. Of that number, 817 identified themselves as African Americans and are the focus of this report. Of the 817 African-American patients screened, 84 (10%) needed to be examined by an ophthalmologist immediately (< 30 days), and 180 (22%) needed to be examined soon (within 1 to 3 months), while 544 (67%) were advised to return for another exam a year later. The project demonstrated that it was possible to use culturally specific techniques to identify a significant number of urban African Americans with diabetes in need of eye screening and treatment. However, lack of health insurance proved to be the primary barrier to receiving needed treatment. Although the project was successful, it is not a solution to what is essentially a health systems problem, ie, inadequate access to appropriate diabetes care for a significant number of our population.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans*
  • Aged
  • Community Health Centers / organization & administration*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Ownership
  • Public Health
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vision Screening / organization & administration*
  • Vision Screening / statistics & numerical data