July 19, 2017
1 min read

Screening program finds diabetic retinopathy in 30% of subjects

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Researchers found the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in diabetes type 2 patients to be 30% through the use of a telemedicine screening program.

Theophanous and colleagues reported in a poster at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting that they analyzed results of this pilot program conducted among an urban population by the San Francisco Department of Public Health from 2012 to 2016

Subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus from two community health centers and the San Francisco General Hospital who were at least 18 years old were referred for screening with the Optos Daytona (Optos, Dunfermline, Scotland). The images were graded by an optometrist or ophthalmologist in College Station, Texas.

Of the 4,925 patients screened, 29.6% had diabetic retinopathy, 67.2% had none, and the images of 3.2% were ungradable, according to the study abstract. Of the patients diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, 73% had mild nonproliferative, 17% had moderate nonproliferative, 4% had severe nonproliferative, 6% had proliferative, and 5% had diabetic macular edema.

The study abstract detailed that 10% of all patients were glaucoma suspects, and 32% of this group also had diabetic retinopathy. One percent of all of the patients had retinal vein occlusions, and 0.2% had age-related macular degeneration.

Seventy percent of the patients screened were scheduled for an annual follow-up exam, and 30% were scheduled for an exam within 1 to 6 months due to the findings.

The authors reported that they are now performing a cost-benefit analysis.


Theophanous C, et al. Four-year experience of tele-ophthalmology for diabetic retinopathy screening in San Francisco, Calif. Presented at: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology; Baltimore; May 9, 2017.

Disclosures: The authors reported no relevant financial disclosures.