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Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

Feb 25, 2015

The personal, social and economic costs of sight loss are well recognised, with strong evidence that screening is an effective intervention when linked with access to appropriate treatment pathways. 

DR screening programmes are relatively non-complex and low tech, using retinal fundus cameras to capture 2D digital images, which are then graded for the presence and severity of any DR. Anybody considered to be at risk of sight threatening retinopathy should then be referred to an appropriate eye care treatment centre.

There are 387 million people living with diabetes worldwide and this number is estimated to increase by more than 50% in the next 20 years. Just thinking about the global economic cost alone of dealing with the disease complications is mind-numbing. We have to start somewhere and thus in this discussion we will discuss the prevention of sight loss.

My question may initially appear simple, even naive. But considered in the context of the above, it may also strike you as profound.

Why can’t every person with diabetes have access to an effective retinopathy screening programme?


Information about the moderator

The discussion will be moderated by Mr Andrew Crowder, DMS, MIHM, Head of Programme, Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Service for Wales.


1) Javitt JC. (1995) Cost savings associated with detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease.
2) Sharp PF, et al. (2003) The value of digital imaging in diabetic retinopathy.
3) James M, et al. (2000) Cost effectiveness analysis of screening for sight threatening diabetic eye disease. 
4) Vijan S, et al. (2000) Cost-utility analysis of screening intervals for diabetic retinopathy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Diabetic Retinopathy Barometer project

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the International Federation on Ageing (IFA), and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), working in collaboration with The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), have launched a new project, the first kind in the world, to gather information on diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema across 42 countries.

For more information on the project and the Diabetic Retinopathy Barometer Study Provider Survey, click here