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Fundamental principles of an effective diabetic retinopathy screening program

  • Lanzetta, Paolo1, 2
  • Sarao, Valentina1, 2
  • Scanlon, Peter H.3
  • Barratt, Jane4
  • Porta, Massimo5
  • Bandello, Francesco6
  • Loewenstein, Anat7
  • Eldem, Bora
  • Hunyor, Alex
  • Joussen, Antonia
  • Koh, Adrian
  • Korobelnik, Jean-François
  • Lanzetta, Paolo
  • Loewenstein, Anat
  • Lövestam-Adrian, Monica
  • Navarro, Rafael
  • Okada, Annabelle A.
  • Pearce, Ian
  • Rodríguez, Francisco J.
  • Staurenghi, Giovanni
  • And 2 more
  • 1 University of Udine, Piazzale S. Maria della Misericordia, Udine, 33100, Italy , Udine (Italy)
  • 2 Istituto Europeo di Microchirurgia Oculare (IEMO), Udine, Italy , Udine (Italy)
  • 3 Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucester, UK , Gloucester (United Kingdom)
  • 4 International Federation on Ageing, Toronto, Canada , Toronto (Canada)
  • 5 University of Turin, Turin, Italy , Turin (Italy)
  • 6 San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy , Milan (Italy)
  • 7 Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel , Tel Aviv (Israel)
Published Article
Acta Diabetologica
Springer Milan
Publication Date
Mar 28, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s00592-020-01506-8
Springer Nature


BackgroundDiabetic 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.MethodsA 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.ResultsThe 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.ConclusionUse of these recommendations may yield more effective DR screening programs that reduce the risk of vision loss worldwide.

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