Purpose: To evaluate current practice patterns for Egyptian ophthalmologists in the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and explore potential implications of these approaches on management.
Methods: Cross-sectional survey conducted in Egypt amongst practicing ophthalmologists.
Results: The study had 203 responses (~6% of all Egyptian ophthalmologists). A majority of respondents were general ophthalmologists (78.2%), practicing for five to ten years (41.9%). In patients with DR and no diabetic macular edema (DME), 33.0% of respondents would use FA in patients with mild DR, 44.3% in patients with moderate DR and 51.2% in patients with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR). Color imaging (CI) was used by less than 1% as the sole imaging modality for any level of DR. Approximately 70% of respondents used fluorescein angiography (FA) to grade and base treatment decisions for DR, either alone or in conjunction with dilated eye exams and/or CI. Given the known more severe appearance of DR on FA than on standard color imaging upon which treatment guidelines are based, use of FA as the primary modality over a one-year period could result in PRP that would otherwise not be suggested in approximately 78,820 eyes at an additional cost of $10.1 million US dollars. These numbers are projected to double by 2045.
Conclusion: Given that FA detects significantly greater pathology than CI, and that treatment and follow-up recommendations are based on CI, its use as the primary imaging modality in DR grading may result in apparently significantly higher DR severity, with subsequently increased procedures and associated costs.
Keywords: Diabetic retinopathy; Egypt; fluorescein angiography; practice patterns; survey.