Trained assessors could be used to monitor patients with stable diabetic eye disease

UK study found qualified assessors were able to accurately assess whether eye disease had reactivated

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A UK study examined the effectiveness of using trained ophthalmic assessors rather than ophthalmologists to monitor patients with stable diabetic eye disease.

The Emerald Diagnostic Accuracy Study (Efficacy of Multimodal Imaging for Assessment of Retinal Edema and New Vessels in Diabetic Retinopathy) involved trained assessors monitoring patients who have previously been treated for complications of the disease. diabetic eye disease and are now stable.

Research found that the ophthalmic grading route performed satisfactorily compared to standard care where an ophthalmologist would assess patients in a clinic.

This new route could also save £ 1,390 per 100 patients, as well as free up time for ophthalmologists.

Professor Noemi Lois, Queen’s University Belfast, noted that currently ophthalmologists must assess all patients, even those who are stable after treatment.

“Eye units in NHS hospitals are under significant pressure given the extremely high number of people who need to be examined and treated and the insufficient number of ophthalmologists in the UK,” she said.

“Emerald has shown that trained ophthalmic assessors are able to determine whether previously successfully treated patients with diabetic macular edema or proliferative diabetic retinopathy remain stable or whether the disease has reactivated,” Lois added.

Bristol Eye Hospital consultant ophthalmologist Clare Bailey said the study increased the number of patients who can be seen via the imaging / filing route.

“This has dramatically increased our ability to follow up, while allowing ophthalmologists to dedicate time to people with diabetic retinopathy who need treatment or further evaluation. This has helped us deal with capacity pressures from COVID-19 as well as longer term capacity demands due to the increasing prevalence of diabetic retinopathy, ”she said.

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