To assess whether family physicians and family medicine residents know what the Canadian guidelines for screening for diabetic retinopathy are, and to assess whether they believe they can perform this screening.
Mailed survey with two mailed reminders.
All general practitioners (N = 1038) listed in two health catchment areas, Québec and Chaudière-Appalaches administrative regions in the province of Québec, and all family medicine residents (N = 125) at Laval University Medical School. Response rate was 62% among general practitioners and 77% among residents.
Knowledge of screening guidelines for diabetic retinopathy in type I and type II diabetes, including timing of the initial screening examination, risk factors, natural history, and treatment of ocular complications; and perception of ability to screen for diabetic retinopathy.
Among GPs, 80% of respondents correctly chose the statement with the current guideline for first screening for diabetic retinopathy to be performed shortly after diagnosis of type II diabetes. Only 13% of respondents were familiar with the guideline for first screening 5 years after diagnosis of type I diabetes. Agreement with other correct guideline statements was also low. Overall, residents had higher scores than GPs. Most respondents were not confident in the accuracy of their eye examinations.
General practitioners and family medicine residents have varying levels of knowledge about the Canadian guidelines for screening for diabetic retinopathy. These results will be useful in designing and improving educational programs for GPs in diabetic retinopathy screening.