PURPOSE: To determine the rate of follow-up after emergent encounters for nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and to identify patient or visit characteristics associated with follow-up adherence. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of patients presenting to an ophthalmic emergency department with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy between May 2014 and December 2018 was conducted. Demographic and encounter data were gathered. Adherence to follow-up was defined as a completed encounter within 5 weeks of the recommended follow-up. RESULTS: A total of 1,248 patients were included. The overall follow-up rate was 53%. Significantly decreased odds of follow-up adherence were associated with longer physician recommended follow-up intervals (odds ratio: 0.81, P < 0.001), longer interval to scheduled appointment (OR: 0.98, P < 0.001), commercial insurance (OR: 0.76, P = 0.01), and lack of any insurance (OR: 0.57, P < 0.01). Significantly increased odds were associated with a longer emergency department visit duration (OR: 1.002, P = 0.001), farther home distance (1.02, P < 0.01), increased likelihood of living in a higher income area (OR: 1.07, P = 0.04), greater NPDR severity (OR: 1.23, P < 0.01), Medicare (OR: 1.38, P = 0.04), presence of macular edema (OR: 1.66, P < 0.001), and worse vision (OR: 1.73, P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Patients presenting emergently with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy are at high risk for follow-up nonadherence. Several patient and encounter characteristics were associated with follow-up adherence.
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