Screening for diabetes in optometry practices: acceptability to users

Jen Howse, Steve Jones, A. Pali S. Hungin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in the working age population. While optometrists have an established role in screening people with known diabetes for eye disease, their role in screening for diabetes has not been evaluated. For diabetes screening in optometry practices to be successful it must be acceptable to both optometrists and to the public. The purpose of this study was to determine acceptability to people attending optometry practices of using random capillary blood glucose (rCBG) tests to detect raised blood glucose levels in optometry practices.

    Methods: A screening service offering people with risk factors or symptoms of diabetes rCBG tests was piloted in five high street opticians’ practices in North East England. One thousand and two people used the screening service during a 20 week period. Each was given a questionnaire to complete and return following a rCBG test.

    Results: Nine hundred and thirty‐nine questionnaires were returned (return rate 93.7%). The mean age of participants was 54.5 years, 63.3% were female and 75.0% had not been screened for diabetes previously. 99.1% agreed or strongly agreed that the location was convenient for them and 98.0% would recommend others to use the screening service. 83.8% of the participants would not have gone elsewhere to have any tests done and 148 (16.2%) responded that they would have sought a test elsewhere; 14.2% at the GP, 0.8% at a pharmacy and 0.5% elsewhere. Only 3.2% reported that the test procedure was uncomfortable.

    Conclusions: To those attending opticians’ practices, screening using rCBG tests is acceptable in terms of convenience and test comfort, and they would recommend the test to others. Screening in optometry practices provides an opportunity to identify people at risk of diabetes in a hitherto unutilised setting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)367-374
    JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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