Researchers are aiming to improve global standards for detection of leading cause of blindness by insisting better screenings. Diabetes is becoming an epidemic in the world.

Researchers aiming to improve global standards for detection of leading cause of blindness

by Joanne Milne

Diabetic retinopathy – a common complication of diabetes which occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the cells at the back of the eye – is the biggest cause of blindness in the working population globally.

It is treatable if detected early but standards of screening vary vastly around the world. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian are exporting Scottish expertise in the field to Africa, where diabetes is a growing problem, with the aim of improving international standards.

In 2007, Scotland became the first country to introduce a rigorous online testing program for those who screen for diabetic retinopathy. It requires every screener to undertake a bi-annual online review to test the accuracy of their diagnoses. But in many developing countries, where health services are private, those conducting the photo screening have often completed only limited training.
The Aberdeen team, made up of Drs Roger Staff and John Olson, was asked to investigate the issue by the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa. Their study, published in the South African Medical Journal, found many weaknesses in the screener’s performance which could result in the condition going undetected. Dr Staff said: “There is a real lack of standardisation in the training of screeners in South Africa and performance varied significantly when we compared their performance to a group of expert Scottish screeners. Those who we tested had come forward voluntarily so we suspect that there are probably many more deficiencies in the screening process that we were not able to measure.
“However, a small amount of training could lead to…Read more:
Source: Medical Xpress