Present and future screening programs for diabetic retinopathy: a narrative review

Andreas Abou Taha*, Sebastian Dinesen, Anna Stage Vergmann, Jakob Grauslund


Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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Diabetes is a prevalent global concern, with an estimated 12% of the global adult population affected by 2045. Diabetic retinopathy (DR), a sight-threatening complication, has spurred diverse screening approaches worldwide due to advances in DR knowledge, rapid technological developments in retinal imaging and variations in healthcare resources. Many high income countries have fully implemented or are on the verge of completing a national Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (DESP). Although there have been some improvements in DR screening in Africa, Asia, and American countries further progress is needed. In low-income countries, only one out of 29, partially implemented a DESP, while 21 out of 50 lower-middle-income countries have started the DR policy cycle. Among upper-middle-income countries, a third of 59 nations have advanced in DR agenda-setting, with five having a comprehensive national DESP and 11 in the early stages of implementation. Many nations use 2–4 fields fundus images, proven effective with 80–98% sensitivity and 86–100% specificity compared to the traditional seven-field evaluation for DR. A cell phone based screening with a hand held retinal camera presents a potential low-cost alternative as imaging device. While this method in low-resource settings may not entirely match the sensitivity and specificity of seven-field stereoscopic photography, positive outcomes are observed. Individualized DR screening intervals are the standard in many high-resource nations. In countries that lacks a national DESP and resources, screening are more sporadic, i.e. screening intervals are not evidence-based and often less frequently, which can lead to late recognition of treatment required DR. The rising global prevalence of DR poses an economic challenge to nationwide screening programs AI-algorithms have showed high sensitivity and specificity for detection of DR and could provide a promising solution for the future screening burden. In summary, this narrative review enlightens on the epidemiology of DR and the necessity for effective DR screening programs. Worldwide evolution in existing approaches for DR screening has showed promising results but has also revealed limitations. Technological advancements, such as handheld imaging devices, tele ophthalmology and artificial intelligence enhance cost-effectiveness, but also the accessibility of DR screening in countries with low resources or where distance to or a shortage of ophthalmologists exists.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Retina and Vitreous
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 3. feb. 2024


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