Aim: To describe current diabetic retinopathy (DR) screening and management practices among Australian general practitioners.
Methods: A self administered questionnaire on DR management was mailed to 2000 rural and urban GPs across Australia in 2007-2008.
Results: Only 29% of the GP respondents had read the National Health and Research Council guidelines at least once and 41% had a 'moderate' to 'strong' desire to screen for DR. A majority of GPs (74%) reported not routinely examining their diabetic patients for DR. Lack of confidence in detecting DR changes (86.4%) and time constraints (73.4%) were the two major barriers to GPs performing dilated fundoscopy on diabetic patients.
Discussion: Given that access to optometry is not evenly distributed across the country, and that ophthalmology is underresourced, GPs are the healthcare providers most able to manage and screen for DR in the community.