The Role of Retinal Imaging and Portable Screening Devices in Tele-ophthalmology Applications for Diabetic Retinopathy Management

Curr Diab Rep. 2016 Dec;16(12):132. doi: 10.1007/s11892-016-0827-2.


In the years since its introduction, retinal imaging has transformed our capability to visualize the posterior pole of the eye. Increasing practical advances in mobile technology, regular monitoring, and population screening for diabetic retinopathy management offer the opportunity for further development of cost-effective applications through remote assessment of the diabetic eye using portable retinal cameras, smart-phone-based devices and telemedicine networks. Numerous retinal imaging methods and mobile technologies in tele-ophthalmology applications have been reported for diabetic retinopathy screening and management. They provide several advantages of automation, sensitivity, specificity, portability, and miniaturization for the development of point-of-care diagnostics for eye complications in diabetes. The aim of this paper is to review the role of retinal imaging and mobile technologies in tele-ophthalmology applications for diabetic retinopathy screening and management. At large, although improvements in current technology and telemedicine services are still needed, telemedicine has demonstrated to be a worthy tool to support health caregivers in the effective management and prevention of diabetes and its complications.

Keywords: Diabetes mellitus; Diabetic retinopathy; Portable devices; Retinal imaging; Tele-ophthalmology; Telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / therapy
  • Humans
  • Ophthalmology / instrumentation*
  • Ophthalmoscopes
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Retina / diagnostic imaging*
  • Telemedicine / methods*