Perception of, and anxiety levels induced by, laser treatment in patients with sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy. A multicentre study

M. Trento, M. Tomelini, R. Lattanzio, R. Brancato, A. Coggiola, R. Benecchi, L. Scoccianti, C. Insacco, F. Bandello, M. Montanaro, F. Cavallo, M. Porta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To investigate how laser treatment is perceived, in terms of anxiety and awareness, by diabetic patients attending four centres in Northern Italy with specific interest and expertise in diabetic retinopathy, where work settings and flow are organized differently. Methods: The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Family Apgar-List of Threatening Experiences (FA-LTE), State-Trait Anxiety Inventories 1 and 2 (STAI-1 and STAI-2) questionnaires were completed by 259 patients, 131 waiting for laser treatment and 128 control subejcts awaiting non-intervention visits. Open questions were also asked on whether patients had ever heard the word 'laser' and whether they could describe laser treatment. Results: High scores were detected by HADS, STAI-1 and STAI-2 among patients waiting for photocoagulation. Anxiety was greater in women and people with poor schooling. After controlling for centres, gender, previous laser treatment and schooling, HADS and STAI-1 remained significantly lower among persons waiting for non-intervention visits. Having received photocoagulation previously did not modify anxiety. Anxiety was lower in those centres where facilities and resources were more patient-oriented. Most patients could neither describe photocoagulation nor explain why they were about to receive it, but had a negative perception and some described it with words evoking cruelty and pain. Conclusions: These data suggest that laser treatment is experienced as an event that causes anxiety. Preoperative education and counselling may help to reduce fear and patients' avoidance of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1109
Number of pages4
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Hospital settings
  • Laser treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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