ABSTRACT: Primary care physicians’ knowledge of the ophthalmic effects of diabetes
OBJECTIVE:Previous studies suggest that many patients with diabetes do not receive an annual dilated eye examination because of a lack of referrals from primary care physicians (PCPs). This study aims to determine the depth of knowledge of PCPs regarding diabetic eye disease.DESIGN:Cross-sectional assessment.PARTICIPANTS:Ninety-seven PCPs.METHODS:An 8-question, multiple-choice assessment was administered over a 3-month period to 208 PCPs in attendance at continuing medical education conferences.RESULTS:Ninety-seven PCPs completed the assessment. Participants had a mean total score of 5.9 of 8 possible (73.8%). Questions regarding screening, clinical findings, and prevention were answered correctly by ≥81% of the respondents. However, questions regarding risk factors and complications were answered correctly by less than 35% of the respondents. No difference in scores was found based on the type of residency training received or the number of years in practice.CONCLUSIONS:Although PCPs may require greater education in the complications and risk factors of diabetic eye disease, study participants demonstrated a good overall depth of knowledge regarding diabetic eye disease. Thus, previous reports of only 35% to 55% of patients with diabetes receiving an annual dilated fundus examination are likely not due to a lack of physician education.