Purpose: To compare diabetic retinopathy (DR) identification and ungradable image rates between nonmydriatic ultrawide field (UWF) imaging and nonmydriatic multifield fundus photography (NMFP) in a large multistate population-based DR teleophthalmology program.
Design: Multiple-site, nonrandomized, consecutive, cross-sectional, retrospective, uncontrolled imaging device evaluation.
Participants: Thirty-five thousand fifty-two eyes (17 526 patients) imaged using NMFP and 16 218 eyes (8109 patients) imaged using UWF imaging.
Methods: All patients undergoing Joslin Vision Network (JVN) imaging with either NMFP or UWF imaging from May 1, 2014, through August 30, 2015, within the Indian Health Service-JVN program, which serves American Indian and Alaska Native communities at 97 sites across 25 states, were evaluated. All retinal images were graded using a standardized validated protocol in a centralized reading center.
Main outcome measures: Ungradable rate for DR and diabetic macular edema (DME).
Results: The ungradable rate per patient for DR and DME was significantly lower with UWF imaging compared with NMFP (DR, 2.8% vs. 26.9% [P < 0.0001]; DME, 3.8% vs. 26.2% [P < 0.0001]). Identification of eyes with either DR or referable DR (moderate nonproliferative DR or DME or worse) was increased using UWF imaging from 11.7% to 24.2% (P < 0.0001) and from 6.2% to 13.6% (P < 0.0001), respectively. In eyes with DR imaged with UWF imaging (n = 3926 eyes of 2402 patients), the presence of predominantly peripheral lesions suggested a more severe level of DR in 7.2% of eyes (9.6% of patients).
Conclusions: In a large, widely distributed DR ocular telehealth program, as compared with NMFP, nonmydriatic UWF imaging reduced the number of ungradable eyes by 81%, increased the identification of DR nearly 2-fold, and identified peripheral lesions suggesting more severe DR in almost 10% of patients, thus demonstrating significant benefits of this imaging method for large DR teleophthalmology programs.
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