HealthDay News — Free online information about diabetic retinopathy is of poor quality, varying accuracy, and low readability, according to a study published online Aug. 22 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Amy Kloosterboer, from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues assessed the quality, content, and readability of information found online for diabetic retinopathy. Eleven free medical sites were evaluated by 1 vitreoretinal surgeon and 2 vitreoretinal fellows using 26 questions of relevance to patients.

The researchers found that of a possible 104 points, the mean questionnaire score for all websites was 55.76. There were significant differences in the content quality of the websites. The mean reading grade across websites was 11.30. There was no correlation between content accuracy and the mean reading grade or Google rank. No website achieved all 4 JAMA quality benchmarks. There was no correlation noted between the accuracy of the content of the website and JAMA quality benchmarks.

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“These data suggest that available online information on diabetic retinopathy typically is not sufficient to support the patient in making appropriate medical decisions,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to biopharmaceutical companies.

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