Loss to Follow-Up Among Patients With Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy in Clinical Practice

Published:March 21, 2020DOI:


      To determine the proportion of patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) who were counted as loss to follow-up (LTFU) patients and to investigate predictive factors.


      Retrospective cohort study.


      Information was collected for 4,423 patients with PDR between April 30, 2012, and April 30, 2017. Two definitions of LTFU were used. Complete LTFU referred to the population who never returned to care within the study period. Interval LTFU referred to the population who did not adhere to clinical recommendations and missed scheduled appointments, resulting in intervals longer than 6 months or 1 year between 2 appointments. Age, average gross income, and insurance were assessed as potential predictors of interval LTFU.


      Among 4,423 patients with PDR, 2,407 (54.4%) and 2,320 (52.4%) were complete LTFU at 6 months and 1 year, respectively; 782 (17.7%) and 468 (10.6%) patients were interval LTFU for 6 months and 1 year, respectively. Age and average gross income were not found to be significant predictors of interval LTFU. Compared to self-pay, government and private insurance patients were more likely to be interval LTFU at 6 months (government, P = .035; private, P = .005). Private insurance patients were also more likely to be interval LTFU at 1 year (P = .003).


      The identified complete LTFU rates were notably high and warrant further study. More than 1 of 6 patients were interval LTFU for at least 6 months, and 1 of 10 patients was interval LTFU for more than 1 year. Insurance status was significant in determining interval LTFU status. Consistent with other analyses, these results indicate that compliance with clinical appointments among patients with PDR is a substantial clinical challenge.
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