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Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2007 Jun;62(3):273-8.

How much information do medical practitioners and endocrinologists have about diabetic retinopathy?

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Opthalmology and Endocrinology, University Medical School, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.



The objective of this study was to use a questionnaire to evaluate knowledge concerning diabetic retinopathy among the physicians present at the 12th Latin American Congress on Diabetes held in São Paulo, Brazil, September 2004.


A questionnaire about their experience and management of patients with diabetes mellitus and the ophthalmologic examination was administered to 168 endocrinologists attending the meeting.


Among the 168 physicians, only 36.9% correctly referred patients with diabetes type 1 to an ophthalmologist, whereas 86.9% referred patients with the type 2 disorder as recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Regarding the correct indication for screening for diabetic retinopathy, more physicians who had received their degree less than 5 years previously implemented this practice (54.8%), as opposed to those who had received their MD 20 years or more ago (22.6%). Regarding their experience in funduscopy during their specialty training, 52.4% claimed to have experience, but only 21.4% of those interviewed performed this examination on their patients. According to 84.5% of the interviewees, the fundus examination influenced their clinical treatment program.


Our study demonstrates that medical knowledge among medical practitioners and endocrinologists on preventive measures and periodicity of diabetic retinopathy examinations appears to be far from ideal for diabetes type 1, but satisfactory for diabetes type 2. Therefore, refresher courses emphasizing the correct management of diabetic patients are necessary, because the social and economic impact of retinopathy is significant.

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