Validation of diagnostic accuracy of retinal image grading by trained non-ophthalmologist grader for detecting diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema

Date Published:

2022 Jul 29


PURPOSE: To validate the fundus image grading results by a trained grader (Non-ophthalmologist) and an ophthalmologist grader for detecting diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular oedema (DMO) against fundus examination by a retina specialist (gold standard). METHODS: A prospective diagnostic accuracy study was conducted using 2002 non-mydriatic colour fundus images from 1001 patients aged ≥40 years. Using the Aravind Diabetic Retinopathy Evaluation Software (ADRES) images were graded by both a trained non-ophthalmologist grader (grader-1) and an ophthalmologist (grader-2). Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value were calculated for grader-1 and grader-2 against the grading results by an independent retina specialist who performed dilated fundus examination for every study participant. RESULTS: Out of 1001 patients included, 42% were women and the mean ± (SD) age was 55.8 (8.39) years. For moderate or worse DR, the sensitivity and specificity for grading by grader-1 with respect to the gold standard was 66.9% and 91.0% respectively and the same for the ophthalmologist was 83.6% and 80.3% respectively. For referable DMO, grader-1 and grader-2 had a sensitivity of 74.6% and 85.6% respectively and a specificity of 83.7% and 79.8% respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate good level of accuracy for the fundus image grading performed by a trained non-ophthalmologist which was comparable with the grading by an ophthalmologist. Engaging trained non-ophthalmologists potentially can enhance the efficiency of DR diagnosis using fundus images. Further study with multiple non-ophthalmologist graders is needed to verify the results and strategies to improve agreement for DMO diagnosis are needed.

Last updated on 07/31/2022