Background: An emergent source of information on health issues is the Internet. One such platform with 1 billion users is YouTube, the global video-sharing service.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the content and characteristics of the most widely viewed YouTube videos related to diabetic retinopathy.
Methods: Videos were sorted according to number of views using the key words “diabetic retinopathy.” For each video, general descriptive information was collected. This information included date and source of upload (news, professional, or consumer), length, and total number of views as of July 18, 2016. Content categories were largely informed by a National Eye Institute fact sheet. Each video was viewed to determine which, if any, of the given content categories were present.
Results: Of the 98 most widely viewed videos related to diabetic retinopathy, 42 were generated by consumers, 40 were generated by professionals, and 16 were generated from news-based sources. The largest number of views were generated from professionals (624,770/994,494, 63.82%). Compared with professional videos, consumer videos were viewed less frequently (W=622, P=.04). The main purpose of the majority of videos was to provide information (59/98, 60%), and most of the videos showed or mentioned retinopathy in general (75/98, 77%). Smaller numbers offered information about specific types of retinopathy, namely proliferative (26/98, 27%) and nonproliferative (17/98, 17%). Compared with consumer-generated videos, professional videos were 5.57 times more likely to mention that diabetic retinopathy can go unnoticed (95% CI 1.59-26.15). More than 80% (80/98) of the most widely viewed videos did not address the asymptomatic nature of the disease, only about one-third (33/98) mentioned prevention, and only 58 of the 98 videos (59%) mentioned screening.
Conclusion: Future research is needed to identify aspects of YouTube videos that attract viewer attention and best practices for using this medium to increase diabetic retinopathy screening among people with diabetes.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/isaac_fung1/95/