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Diabetic retinopathy research could reduce screening costs
Date:5/6/2012

Research carried out at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD), University of Exeter, has concluded that it would be a safe and cost-effective strategy to screen people with type 2 diabetes who have not yet developed diabetic retinopathy, for the disease once every two years instead of annually.

The research is supported by funding from the National Institute for Health Research Peninsula Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR PenCLAHRC). It is published today (00:01hrs BST Monday 7th May 2012) on-line in Diabetes Care.

Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes. It occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the cells in the retina and, if not treated, can lead to blindness. In all but some cases diabetic retinopathy has a typically slow rate of progression and can take years to develop.

The research team developed a model that simulated the progression of retinopathy in type 2 diabetes and related screening, in order to predict the rates of retinopathy-related sight loss. The model used data from the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust in the South West of the UK and the research team generated comparative 15-year forecasts to assess the differences between current screening policies and those proposed by the findings of the study.

The study concluded that it is safe to screen type 2 diabetes patients who have not been diagnosed with retinopathy every two years rather than annually, because the research team found that the proportion of patients who develop retinopathy-related sight loss was no different between the two screening intervals.

Proposed savings for the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, for which 3,537 of the patients it screens for retinopathy fell into the remit of this study, would be a reduction in costs from 1.83m a year to 1.36m. The study predicts savings of around 25 per cent based on standard assumptions of screening cost
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Contact: Andrew Gould
andrew.gould@pcmd.ac.uk
44-188-438-346
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

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