Research Article

Prevalence of retinopathy in a diabetic clinic.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 03 June 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:1441
  1. R J Donovan


    In a prospective study lasting 14 months an attempt was made to measure the visual acuity and examine the fundi, after mydriasis, of all patients attending the diabetic clinic of a district general hospital. Of 704 patients, 160 (22.7%) had some evidence of retinopathy, and 52 (7.4%) of these were already attending an ophthalmologist. A further 18 (2.6%) were known to have retinopathy and were being followed up in the diabetic clinic. Ninety (12.8%) new patients with diabetic retinopathy were discovered. Most had minimal changes, but 30 (4.3%) were considered to have changes severe enough to be referred to an ophthalmologist. Twenty-two (2.1%) underwent, or were awaiting, photocoagulation, and half of these had had no visual symptoms when first seen. Although some of these patients were already being treated or observed for retinopathy, it is encouraging that relatively few new patients needing treatment for retinopathy were discovered. If retinopathy could be detected early enough physicians might be able to deal with it and so ease pressure on ophthalmological services.