University Of Western Australia Logo Diabetic retinopathy is impairment of the retina due to diabetes mellitus and early diagnosis along with timely intervention ought to prohibit 98 percent of visual loss. The University of Western Australia scientists have conducted two studies which reveal that management of diabetic patients facing risk of vision loss may have to be enhanced by optometrists and general practitioners who cater to essential needs related to eye care.

There were nearly 568 optometrists around Australia who participated in the study. Reportedly, more than half of them lacked courage to identify macular oedema and only 40 percent seemed to suitably refer patients with macular oedema to an eye specialist.

Lead-author Dr Daniel Ting, from UWA’s School of Population Health stated, “Given macular oedema is a major cause of significant visual impairment, optometrists need to improve their management (confidence to detect and referrals) to ensure prompt laser treatment for patients.”

Among GPs, it came to light that almost 74 percent of them did not seem to regularly test their diabetic patients for diabetic retinopathy. However, 89 percent of them apparently referred them to visit an ophthalmologist within 2 years of initial diabetic detection.

Only 21 per cent of GPs exuded confidence in recognizing the clinical symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. Nevertheless, they were certain and showed proficiency in handling the condition once it was diagnosed. But scientists are stirred up with only 29 percent of GPs and 65 percent of optometrists being aware of the NHMRC guidelines on diabetic retinopathy. This outlines the vitality of a culture that enriches learning and training.

This study is known as Diabetic retinopathy screening and management by Australian GPs and is published in Australian Family Physician. It also includes the analysis named Diabetic retinopathy management by Australian optometrists that is published in Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology.