Purpose: This study compares 35-mm transparencies with colour digital fundus images.
Methods: Colour fundus photos were acquired simultaneously on a digital system and on 35-mm film on 32 consecutive patients. These were assessed independently by two ophthalmologists who graded overall picture quality and granularity of the images. They also assessed if the images were adequate for the purpose of making a diagnosis. An analysis of the costs of the two systems was performed.
Results: The film images had significantly better scores for overall picture quality (p=0.0001, 95% CI 0.5 to 1.5) and granularity (p<0.0001, 95% CI 1.5 to 2). However, both digital and film images were considered adequate for diagnosis (p=0.052, 95% CI 0.12 to 8.32).
Conclusion: The quality of digital images is acceptable for diagnostic purposes although resolution is limited. Other advantages and developing technologies will make it increasingly attractive in the future.