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Diabetic retinopathy screening and the use of telemedicine

Zimmer-Galler, Ingrid E.a; Kimura, Alan E.b; Gupta, Sunilc

Current Opinion in Ophthalmology: May 2015 - Volume 26 - Issue 3 - p 167–172
doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000142
RETINAL, VITREOUS AND MACULAR DISORDERS: Edited by Brandon G. Busbee and John W. Kitchens

Purpose of review Evidence-based practice guidelines and treatments are highly effective in reducing vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. However, less than half of the total number of patients with diabetes mellitus receive recommended annual retinal evaluations, and vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy remains the leading cause of blindness in adults. Poor adherence to screening recommendations stems from a number of challenges which telemedicine technology may address to increase the evaluation rates and ultimately reduce vision loss. The aim of this review was to provide an update on the recent advances in tele-ophthalmology and how it may expand our current concept of eye care delivery for diabetic eye disease.

Recent findings The benefits of telemedicine diabetic retinopathy are proven for large population-based systems. Outcomes information from community-based programs is now also beginning to emerge. Improved screening rates and less vision loss from diabetic retinopathy are being reported after implementation of telemedicine programs. New imaging platforms for telemedicine programs may enhance the ability to detect and grade diabetic retinopathy. However, financial factors remain a barrier to widespread implementation.

Summary Telemedicine diabetic retinopathy screening programs may have a significant impact on reducing the vision complications and healthcare burden from the growing diabetes epidemic.

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aWilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland

bDepartment of Ophthalmology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA

cRetina Specialty Institute, Pensacola, FL, USA

Correspondence to Ingrid E. Zimmer-Galler, MD, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions, 600 N Wolfe Street, Maumenee 738, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. Tel: +1 301 620 9268; e-mail:

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