Use of ophthalmologic services by diabetic patients in Nova Scotia

Can J Ophthalmol. 1993 Feb;28(1):7-10.


To evaluate the possible public health consequences of diabetic retinopathy in Nova Scotia, we investigated the number and frequency of ophthalmologic examinations in patients with diabetes mellitus. A total of 36,683 people (4.2%) were identified from the administrative database of the provincial health department as having a diagnostic code of diabetes during the period March 1987 to February 1990. All billings by ophthalmologists for these patients during the same period were then identified. Of the 36,129 patients aged 10 years or more, 17,518 (48.5%) had seen an ophthalmologist at least once during the study period, and 5218 (14.4%) had seen an ophthalmologist approximately annually. Increased age and being female were associated in univariate logistic regression analysis with higher use of ophthalmologic services. The medical insurance system is free of direct costs to patients, and there are enough ophthalmologists to meet patient needs (4.35 per 100,000 population). The findings indicate that most diabetic patients in Nova Scotia are not seen at least once a year, as recommended by the Expert Committee of the Canadian Diabetes Advisory Board, despite ready availability of ophthalmologic care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / complications
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nova Scotia / epidemiology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis
  • Vision Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Vision Screening / economics
  • Vision Screening / statistics & numerical data*