The impending and increasing prevalence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in India has necessitated a need for affordable and valid community outreach screening programme for DR, especially in rural and far to reach indigenous local communities. The present study is a pilot study aimed to compare non-mydriatic fundus photography with indirect ophthalmoscopy for its utilisation as a feasible and logistically convenient screening modality for DR in an older age, rural, tribal population in Western India.
This community-based, cross-sectional, prospective population study was a part of a module using Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness and DR methodology in 8340 sampled participants with ≥50 years age. In this study, the diabetics identified were screened for DR using two methods: non-mydriatic fundus photography on the field by trained professionals, that were then graded by a retina specialist at the base hospital and indirect ophthalmoscopy by expert ophthalmologists in the field with masking of each other’s findings for its utility and comparison.
The prevalence of DR, sight threatening DR and maculopathy using indirect ophthalmoscopy was found to be 12.1%, 2.1% and 6.6%, respectively. A fair agreement (κ=0.48 for DR and 0.59 for maculopathy) was observed between both the detection methods. The sensitivity and specificity of fundus photographic evaluation compared with indirect ophthalmoscopy were found to be 54.8% and 92.1% (for DR), 60.7% and 90.8% (for any DR) and 84.2% and 94.8% (for only maculopathy), respectively.
Non-mydriatic fundus photography has the potential to identify DR (any retinopathy or maculopathy) in community settings in Indian population. Its utility as an affordable and logistically convenient cum practical modality is demonstrable. The sensitivity of this screening modality can be further increased by investing in better resolution cameras, capturing quality images and training and validation of imagers.
CTRI/2020/01/023025; Clinical Trial Registry, India (CTRI).

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.