Potential efficiency benefits of nonmydriatic ultrawide field retinal imaging in an ocular telehealth diabetic retinopathy program

Diabetes Care. 2014;37(1):50-5. doi: 10.2337/dc13-1292. Epub 2013 Aug 12.


OBJECTIVE To compare efficiency of nonmydriatic ultrawide field retinal imaging (UWFI) and nonmydriatic fundus photography (NMFP) in a diabetic retinopathy (DR) ocular telehealth program. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Patients in this retrospective, comparative cohort study underwent NMFP and UWFI between 1 November 2011 and 1 November 2012. Images were evaluated for DR and diabetic macular edema (DME) by certified graders using a standard protocol at a centralized reading center. Identification of DR, image evaluation time, and rate of ungradable eyes were compared. RESULTS NMFP and UWFI were performed in 1,633 and 2,170 consecutive patients, respectively. No statistically significant differences were found between groups regarding age, diabetes duration, sex, ethnicity, or insulin use. The ungradable rate per patient for DR (2.9 vs. 9.9%, P < 0.0001) and DME (3.8 vs. 8.8%, P < 0.0001) was lower with UWFI than with NMFP. With UWFI, the median image evaluation time per patient was reduced from 12.8 to 9.2 min (P < 0.0001). The identification of patients with DR (38.4 vs. 33.8%) and vision-threatening DR (14.5 vs. 11.9%) was increased with UWFI versus NMFP. In a consecutive subgroup of 502 eyes of 301 patients with DR, the distribution of peripheral retinal lesions outside Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study fields suggested a more severe DR level in 9.0% (45 eyes). CONCLUSIONS In a standardized DR ocular telehealth program, nonmydriatic UWFI reduced the ungradable rate by 71% (to <3%) and reduced image evaluation time by 28%. DR was identified 17% more frequently after UWFI, and DR peripheral lesions suggested a more severe DR level in 9%. These data suggest that UWFI may improve efficiency of ocular telehealth programs evaluating DR and DME.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Retinopathy / pathology*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macular Edema / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography / methods*
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Telemedicine / methods*