This Week In The Bmj

Systematic screening for diabetic eye disease is cost effective

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 17 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:b

Screening programmes for diabetic eye diseases have become well established in recent years. However, a debate remains over the best way for a screening programme to be implemented. Using data from the Liverpool diabetic eye study James et al show that a systematic screening programme for diabetic eye disease detects more cases of eye disease at a lower cost per case than opportunistic screening (p 1627). This finding remained true for all possible prevalences of the disease and for all sensitivities of opportunistic screening below 95%. Replacing opportunistic with systematic screening would greatly increase the number of cases detected for a small increase in cost.