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Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 2003 Aug;81(4):373-7.

Screening for diabetic retinopathy by non-ophthalmologists: an effective public health tool.

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Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110 029, India.



To investigate and report the reliability of detection and grading of diabetic retinopathy by direct ophthalmoscopy through a dilated pupil by general physicians (non-ophthalmologists) and optometrists who have undergone a short period of training.


A total of 400 eyes of 200 diabetes patients were examined by two non-ophthalmologists. Their observations were compared with an ophthalmologist's diagnoses for the same patients.


The diagnoses made by the general physician (kappa = 0.8381, SE = 0.041) and the optometrist (kappa = 0.7186, SE = 0.051) showed good rates of agreement with the ophthalmologist's diagnoses.


The provision of appropriate screening protocols and follow-up parameters can enable primary care physicians and support personnel to reliably screen individuals for retinopathy in diabetes. This will reduce the workload of tertiary hospitals, and provide optimal services to the huge majority of the Indian population that has limited access to eye care services.

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