Purpose: To evaluate the safety of every other year eye screening for diabetic patients without retinopathy.
Methods: Since 1994, diabetic patients without retinopathy in Iceland have received eye screening every other year. 296 diabetic patients who had no diabetic retinopathy in 1994/95 were followed with biennial eye examinations until they had developed retinopathy. We review the 10-year experience of this approach.
Results: Out of the 296 diabetic individuals, 172 did not develop diabetic retinopathy during the 10-year observation period. 96 patients developed mild non-proliferative retinopathy, 6 developed clinically significant diabetic macular edema, 23 developed pre-proliferative retinopathy and 4 developed proliferative diabetic retinopathy during the 10 year observation period. All the patients that developed macular edema or proliferative retinopathy had already been diagnosed with mild nonproliferative retinopathy and entered an annual screening protocol before the sight threatening retinopathy developed. No patient had an undue delay in treatment.
Conclusion: Every other year screening for diabetic eye disease seems to be safe and effective in diabetics without retinopathy. Such an approach will reduce the number of screening visits more than 25%. This reduces health costs and strain on resources considerably and relieves the diabetic patients from unnecessary clinic visits and examinations.
- diabetic retinopathy
- preventive medicine
- public health