The English Diabetic Eye Screening (DES) programme recommends patients with M1 diabetic maculopathy to be referred to hospital eye services. DES uses flash fundus photography as the reference standard for maculopathy grading. We compared multicolour versus non-stereoscopic fundus photography at identifying M1 maculopathy, with spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) identifying macular thickening.
This cross-sectional study included 345 patients with R1M1 referred from DES and reviewed in secondary care with fundus photographs, multicolour and SD-OCT. Maculopathy was graded based on DES exudate criteria on both multicolour and fundus photography in a blind fashion by two independent graders. Macular thickness was ascertained on SD-OCT.
Intergrader agreement on grading maculopathy using fundus photography (Cohen’s κ=0.91) and multicolour (Cohen’s κ=0.82) was ‘almost perfect’. Agreement between fundus photography and multicolour on grading maculopathy (Cohen’s κ=0.76) was ‘substantial’. Compared with fundus photography, multicolour had sensitivity of 87% (95% CI 81% to 93%) and specificity of 90% (95% CI 87% to 94%) in detecting M1 maculopathy. SD-OCT identified 84 eyes with macular thickening, 47 of which were graded as M0 by fundus photography. 5 eyes with exudates and severe macular oedema requiring urgent intervention were also missed on fundus photography but not on multicolour. Multicolour, when complemented by SD-OCT, did not miss any clinically significant macular oedema.