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Zafar S. Gill, A. Itzam Marin, Anne Strong Caldwell, Nihaal Mehta, Nathan Grove, Leonard K. Seibold, Michael A. Puente, Talisa E. De Carlo Forest, Scott C. N. Oliver, Jennifer L. Patnaik, Niranjan Manoharan; Limited English Proficiency Is Associated With Diabetic Retinopathy in Patients Presenting for Cataract Surgery. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2023;12(10):4. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.12.10.4.
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To investigate the relationship between limited English proficiency (LEP) and diabetic retinopathy (DR) in patients presenting for cataract surgery.
This is a retrospective observational study of patients who underwent cataract surgery between January 2014 and February 2020. Patients who self-identified as needing or preferring an interpreter were defined as having LEP. Differences in demographics, characteristics, and outcomes including history of type 2 diabetes (T2DM), DR, preoperative best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), macular edema, and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections were analyzed. Statistical comparisons were assessed using logistic regression with generalized estimating equations.
We included 13,590 eyes. Of these, 868 (6.4%) were from LEP patients. Patients with LEP were more likely to be Hispanic (P < 0.001), female sex (P = 0.008), or older age (P = 0.003) and have worse mean BCVA at presentation (P < 0.001). Patients with LEP had a significantly higher rate of T2DM (P < 0.001), macular edema (P = 0.033), and DR (18.1% vs. 5.8%, P < 0.001). Findings remained significant when controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and type of health insurance. Patients with LEP and DR were more likely to have had later stages of DR (P = 0.023).
Patients with LEP presenting for cataract surgery had a higher rate of DR and associated complications compared to patients with English proficiency. Further studies are needed to understand how language disparities influence health and what measures could be taken to improve healthcare in this vulnerable population
Our study highlights healthcare disparities within ophthalmology and emphasizes the importance of advocating for improved healthcare delivery for patients with LEP.
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