No Loss of Chance of Diabetic Retinopathy Screening by Endocrinologists With a Digital Fundus Camera

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OBJECTIVETo compare the efficacy of the diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening with digital camera by endocrinologists with that by specialist and resident ophthalmologists in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and level of “loss of chance.”RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSIn a cross-sectional study, 500 adult diabetic patients (1,000 eyes) underwent three-field retinal photography with a digital fundus camera following pupillary dilatation. Five endocrinologists and two ophthalmology residents underwent 40 h of training on screening and grading of DR and detection of associated retinal findings. A κ test compared the accuracy of endocrinologist and ophthalmology resident screening with that performed by experienced ophthalmologists. Screening efficiency of endocrinologists was evaluated in terms of “loss of chance,” i.e., missed diagnoses that required ophthalmologist referrals.RESULTSThe mean weighted κ of DR screening performed by endocronologists was similar to that of ophthalmology residents (0.65 vs. 0.73). Out of 456 DR eyes, both endocrinologists and ophthalmology residents misdiagnosed only stage 1 DR (36 and 14, respectively), which did not require ophthalmologist referral. There were no significant differences between endocrinologists and ophthalmology residents in terms of diabetic maculopathy and incidental findings except for papillary cupping and choroidal lesions, which were not the main purpose of the study or of the training.CONCLUSIONSThe endocrinologist with specific training for DR detection using a three-field digital fundus camera with pupillary dilatation can perform a reliable DR screening without any loss of chance for the patients when compared with identical evaluation performed by experienced ophthalmologists.

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