Purpose: To compare clinical assessment of diabetic eye disease by standard dilated examination with data gathered using a smartphone-based store-and-forward teleophthalmology platform.
Methods: 100 eyes of 50 adult patients with diabetes from a health care safety-net ophthalmology clinic. All patients underwent comprehensive ophthalmic examination. Concurrently, a smartphone was used to estimate near visual acuity and capture anterior and dilated posterior segment photographs, which underwent masked, standardized review. Quantitative comparison of clinic and smartphone-based data using descriptive, kappa, Bland-Altman, and receiver operating characteristic analyses was performed.
Results: Smartphone visual acuity was successfully measured in all eyes. Anterior and posterior segment photography was of sufficient quality to grade in 96 and 98 eyes, respectively. There was good correlation between clinical Snellen and smartphone visual acuity measurements (rho = 0.91). Smartphone-acquired fundus photographs demonstrated 91% sensitivity and 99% specificity to detect moderate nonproliferative and worse diabetic retinopathy, with good agreement between clinic and photograph grades (kappa = 0.91 ± 0.1, P < 0.001; AUROC = 0.97, 95% confidence interval, 0.93-1).
Conclusion: The authors report a smartphone-based telemedicine system that demonstrated sensitivity and specificity to detect referral-warranted diabetic eye disease as a proof-of-concept. Additional studies are warranted to evaluate this approach to expanding screening for diabetic retinopathy.