Every other year screening for retinopathy

October 1, 2007

Every other year screening for diabetic eye disease appears to be both safe and effective in patients with diabetes without retinopathy.

Every other year screening for diabetic eye disease appears to be both safe and effective in patients with diabetes without retinopathy, according to a report published online ahead of print by the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Einar Stefánsson from the National University Hospital of Iceland and colleagues from the University of Iceland, reviewed 10-years experience of every other year screening for diabetics without retinopathy.

Of the 296 diabetic patients who had no diabetic retinopathy in 1994/1995, 172 did not develop retinopathy during the 10-year observation period. A total of 96 patients developed mild non-proliferative retinopathy, six developed clinically significant diabetic macular oedema, 23 developed pre-proliferative retinopathy and four developed proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

All the patients who did develop macular oedema or proliferative retinopathy had already been diagnosed with mild non-proliferative retinopathy and entered into an annual screening programme before sight threatening retinopathy developed. No patients experienced an undue delay in treatment.

According to the study, it would appear that screening for retinopathy in diabetic patients every other year is safe and effective and may help reduce unnecessary costs.