Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Screening of diabetics for retinopathy by ophthalmic opticians.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 290 doi: (Published 06 April 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:1052
  1. C J Burns-Cox,
  2. J C Hart


    Diabetes mellitus is a major cause of blindness in England and Wales in those aged between 30 and 64. Photocoagulation can frequently prevent blindness provided the retinopathy is detected at an appropriate stage but unfortunately the benefits are small if the changes are advanced. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy by regular examination is needed. We have shown that ophthalmic opticians have the skill to detect retinal changes at a treatable stage. Out of 844 eye checks, 80 were reported by ophthalmic opticians to justify referral to an ophthalmologist and 20 of these required photocoagulation treatment. Of a sample of 197 patients rechecked by an ophthalmologist reported by ophthalmic opticians not to justify referral, only one needed treatment. With local agreement this system of detecting retinopathy could be easily applied anywhere in the United Kingdom. No extra personnel or facilities are needed.