The effectiveness of diabetic retinopathy screening by primary care providers: A systematic review of literature

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Shackelford, Jena
Day, David
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Diabetic retinopathy , Telemedicine , Primary health care , PanOptic , DigiScope , Eye exam
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Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States and much of the industrialized world. This complication has the potential to affect all patients with diabetes, regardless of type. Many patients with diabetes are unaware of any vision loss and may not receive treatment before it is too late. Primary care providers play an important role in screening for any retinal changes in between patients’ annual visits with an ophthalmologist. Many health care providers feel inadequate in their ability to accurately screen for diabetic retinopathy using the conventional ophthalmoscope. There has recently been a new ophthalmoscope, the PanOptic, which claims to be just as accurate. There is also an emerging form of screening by way of telemedicine. Telemedicine occurs when digital images are obtained and evaluated off site by an ophthalmologist.

Methodology: The purpose of this paper was to perform a systematic review of the literature and examine the effectiveness of screening for diabetic retinopathy by primary care providers by comparing the conventional and PanOptic ophthalmoscopes with telemedicine. Articles ranged from 1999-present.

Results: Twenty-nine articles matched the criteria and were reviewed using evidence-based methods. After analyzing the data, it appears that the PanOptic is not very effective in screening for diabetic retinopathy. The conventional ophthalmoscope is still effective, but telemedicine is an even better option.

Conclusion: Telemedicine appears to be the most effective option for primary care providers to screen for diabetic retinopathy.

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A project presented to the Department of Physician Assistant of Wichita State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Physician Assistant.
Wichita State University, Dept. of Physician Assistant
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