Aim: To compare current hydroxychloroquine retinopathy screening practices with the published 2002 American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Preferred Practice Patterns (PPP).
Methods: A multiple-choice survey was distributed to 105 ophthalmologists to assess current screening practices and knowledge of patient risk factors. Results were compared with the PPP guidelines. A cost analysis of the PPP and survey paradigms was conducted.
Results: Sixty-seven (64%) of 105 surveys were completed. The majority (90%) of physicians screen for hydroxychloroquine retinopathy with either central automated threshold perimetry or Amsler grid as recommended by the PPP. Most survey respondents could not correctly identify the evidence-based risk factors. The majority screen more frequently than recommended: 87% screen high-risk patients and 94% screen low-risk patients more frequently than recommended in the PPP. The increased screening frequency of low-risk patients translates into an excess of $44 million in the first five years of therapy. If all patients were screened using exact PPP paradigm, savings could exceed $150 million every 10 years.
Conclusions: Ophthalmologists currently screen for hydroxychloroquine retinopathy correctly, however, their lack of familiarity with evidence-based guidelines may result in excessive follow up. Increasing awareness and implementation of the PPP could potentially reduce hydroxychloroquine retinopathy screening costs significantly.