Clinical and Psychosocial Factors Influencing Retinal Screening Uptake Among Young Adults with Type 2 Diabetes


Purpose of Review

Young adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D, 18–39 years) experience early-onset and rapid progression of diabetic retinopathy (DR), the leading cause of vision loss for working age adults. Despite this, uptake of retinal screening, the crucial first step in preventing vision loss from DR, is low. The aim of this review is to summarize the clinical and psychosocial factors affecting uptake of retinal screening.

Recent Findings

Barriers include lack of diabetes-related symptoms, low personal DR risk perception, high rates of depression and diabetes-related distress, fatalism about inevitability of complications, time and financial constraints, disengagement with existing diabetes self-management services, and perceived stigma due to having a condition associated with older adults.


Young adults with T2D are an under-researched population who face an accumulation of barriers to retinal screening. Tailored interventions that address the needs, characteristics, and priorities of young adults with T2D are warranted.

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Amelia Lake was supported by a Deakin University, School of Psychology Higher Degree Research publication award. Jane Speight is the Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes, with core funding provided by a collaboration between Diabetes Victoria and Deakin University.

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Correspondence to A. J. Lake.

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A. J. Lake, G. Rees, and J. Speight declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

The studies involving human participants, which were conducted by the authors and which are contained in this review, were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the studies.

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Lake, A.J., Rees, G. & Speight, J. Clinical and Psychosocial Factors Influencing Retinal Screening Uptake Among Young Adults with Type 2 Diabetes. Curr Diab Rep 18, 41 (2018).

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  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Young adults
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Retinal screening
  • Patient barriers
  • Psychosocial
  • Clinical