Screenings for retinopathy every 2 years instead of the recommended annual screening would be safe and could reduce screening costs by about 25% for people in the United Kingdom who have type 2 diabetes but who have not developed retinopathy, according to an article published in Diabetes Care.
Current guidelines by the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend either annual retinopathy screenings for people with diabetes or, if the patients have developed retinopathy beyond mild disease, screenings every 3 to 6 months.
The new model developed by the researchers, called retinopathy screening simulation (ReSS), builds on an established simulation model called patient-oriented simulation technique. ReSS allowed the authors to evaluate more individual patient states specifying how far the disease has progressed, from R0 (no retinopathy) to R1-R3 (background diabetic retinopathy), to proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Switching to 2-year screening for this population subset could reduce screening costs from a projected 1.83 million pounds to 1.36 million, and screening appointments from 23,611 to 12,561, over the course of 15 years under the model.