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Evidence-based Canadian guidelines for tele-retina screening for diabetic retinopathy: recommendations from the Canadian Retina Research Network (CR2N) Tele-Retina Steering Committee

      Abstract

      Objective

      The purpose of this report is to develop a consensus for Canadian national guidelines specific to a tele-medicine approach to screening for diabetic retinopathy (DR) using evidence-based and clinical data.

      Methods

      Canadian Tele-Screening Grading Scales for DR and diabetic macular edema (DME) were created primarily based on severity grading scales outlined by the International Clinical Diabetic Retinopathy Disease Severity Scale (ICDR) and the Scottish DR Grading Scheme 2007. Other grading scales used in international screening programs and the clinical expertise of the Canadian Retina Research Network members and retina specialists nationwide were also used in the creation of the guidelines.

      Results

      National Tele-Screening Guidelines for DR and DME with and without optical coherence tomography (OCT) images are proposed. These outline a diagnosis and management algorithm for patients presenting with different stages of DR and/or DME. General guidelines detailing the requirements for imaged retina fields, image quality, quality control, and follow-up care and the role of visual acuity, pupil dilation, OCT, ultra-wide-field imaging, and artificial intelligence are discussed.

      Conclusions

      Tele-retina screening can help to address the need for timely and effective screening for DR, whose prevalence continues to rise. A standardized and evidence-based national approach to DR tele-screening has been proposed, based on DR/DME grading using two 45° image fields or a single widefield or ultra-wide-field image, preferable use of OCT imaging, and a focus on local quality control measures.
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