Fundamental principles of an effective diabetic retinopathy screening program.
Lanzetta P., Sarao V., Scanlon PH., Barratt J., Porta M., Bandello F., Loewenstein A., Vision Academy None.
BACKGROUND: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults worldwide. Early detection and treatment are necessary to forestall vision loss from DR. METHODS: A working group of ophthalmic and diabetes experts was established to develop a consensus on the key principles of an effective DR screening program. Recommendations are based on analysis of a structured literature review. RESULTS: The recommendations for implementing an effective DR screening program are: (1) Examination methods must be suitable for the screening region, and DR classification/grading systems must be systematic and uniformly applied. Two-field retinal imaging is sufficient for DR screening and is preferable to seven-field imaging, and referable DR should be well defined and reliably identifiable by qualified screening staff; (2) in many countries/regions, screening can and should take place outside the ophthalmology clinic; (3) screening staff should be accredited and show evidence of ongoing training; (4) screening programs should adhere to relevant national quality assurance standards; (5) studies that use uniform definitions of risk to determine optimum risk-based screening intervals are required; (6) technology infrastructure should be in place to ensure that high-quality images can be stored securely to protect patient information; (7) although screening for diabetic macular edema (DME) in conjunction with DR evaluations may have merit, there is currently insufficient evidence to support implementation of programs solely for DME screening. CONCLUSION: Use of these recommendations may yield more effective DR screening programs that reduce the risk of vision loss worldwide.