AIMS: To evaluate diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening incidence in a universal healthcare system.
METHODS: Registry-based cohort study based on a Danish regional population from 2009 to 2018. Individuals with diabetes were identified by medication. Screening attendance was estimated by surrogate measures using local and nationwide databases reported by cumulative incidence.
RESULTS: 18,832 patients were included. By the end of the first year, the cumulative incidence of screening for DR was 60.2% and by the end of the second year 74.2%. The cumulative incidence was 93.9% overall, 97.7% for patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and 93.4% for patients with type 2 diabetes. Screening proportions per 1, 2 and 5 years were calculated. Females, patients with T1D, and patients attending screening at hospitals had a higher Hazard Ratio of 1.084, 1.157, and 1.573, respectively. The Cochran-Armitage trend test indicated increased screening frequency from 2009 to 2018. Validation of DR screening was done at hospitals with a mean positive predictive value of 86.78%. Cumulative incidence curves showed a small right shift when censoring the first, second and third screening visits.
CONCLUSIONS: Nearly all patients were screened for DR over a 5-year timespan. Female patients with T1D who attended screening at hospitals were significantly more likely to be screened. Validation of screening visits at hospitals was reported with a high mean positive predictive value. Most other studies, to the best of our knowledge, only report screening attendance for patients already enrolled in a DR screening programme. This study describes the overall screening attendance for the total eligible diabetes population.