Ophthalmic referral rates for patients with diabetes in primary-care clinics located in disadvantaged urban communities

J Diabetes Complications. Jan-Mar 1995;9(1):49-54. doi: 10.1016/1056-8727(94)00005-9.


The level of adherence with recommended standards for ophthalmic examinations was assessed in a purposive sample of diabetic patient charts (n = 350) from four clinics in medically underserved areas. All of the clinics referred patients with diabetes to off-site services for comprehensive eye examinations (dilation, visual acuity, and intraocular pressure); adherence with the standard of care was defined as a chart note indicating a referral for an ophthalmic examination. Overall, 86% of the patients were from high-risk minority groups (black or Hispanic) for diabetes and its complications. Mean age and duration of diabetes were 57.7 and 8.8 years, respectively. Referrals for ophthalmic exams were noted in 18% of the charts during the year preceding the review and in 28.6% of the charts during the 2 preceding years. Annual referrals in the preceding 2 years were noted in 3.1% of the charts. Eye disease was noted as a diagnosis in 22%. Patients who had a diagnosis of eye disease noted in their charts had a 7.5-fold increase in the odds of having a referral noted. The increased likelihood of being referred in patients with known eye disease may be due to follow-up of current eye problems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Community Health Centers*
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Poverty
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Factors
  • Urban Population*