Risk Stratification Can Stop Unnecessary Eye Screenings in Diabetes Patients

eyesA new study has indicated the risk stratification of diabetes patients into categories that represent lower and higher risk of developing retinopathy can eliminate unnecessary screenings. The idea behind this is that eye screenings will be more closely tailored to individual risk father than generic recommendations


The lead on the study was Dr Graham P Leese of Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, in Dundee, Scotland. The findings were published to the journal Diabetes Care. In this study, the researchers looked at more than 350,000 patients.


For this study, seven diabetes retinal screening programs across the United Kingdom were reviewed. The findings showed that less than 1% of patients had developed treatable retinopathy after four years, if they did not have it at the beginning of the screenings. For people with bilateral background retinopathy at the start of the study, 6.4% of these individuals had developed retinopathy. This findings show significant differences for the two groups.


The current recommendations in the UK demand that retinal exams be performed on a yearly basis for all individuals that are over the age of 12 years and have diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing every 2 years if there is no evidence that retinopathy has developed. However, the ADA requires more frequent screenings for individuals that have already developed a degree of retinopathy.


Given the findings of the new study, the researchers suggest that there should be a review of current screening practices in order to focus on the patients at greatest risk.

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