Smartphone-Based, Rapid, Wide-Field Fundus Photography for Diagnosis of Pediatric Retinal Diseases

Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2019 May 30;8(3):29. doi: 10.1167/tvst.8.3.29. eCollection 2019 May.


Purpose: An important, unmet clinical need is for cost-effective, reliable, easy-to-use, and portable retinal photography to evaluate preventable causes of vision loss in children. This study presents the feasibility of a novel smartphone-based retinal imaging device tailored to imaging the pediatric fundus.

Methods: Several modifications for children were made to our previous device, including a child-friendly 3D printed housing of animals, attention-grabbing targets, enhanced image stitching, and video-recording capabilities. Retinal photographs were obtained in children undergoing routine dilated eye examination. Experienced masked retina-specialist graders determined photograph quality and made diagnoses based on the images, which were compared to the treating clinician's diagnosis.

Results: Dilated fundus photographs were acquired in 43 patients with a mean age of 6.7 years. The diagnoses included retinoblastoma, Coats' disease, commotio retinae, and optic nerve hypoplasia, among others. Mean time to acquire five standard photographs totaling 90-degree field of vision was 2.3 ± 1.1 minutes. Patients rated their experience of image acquisition favorably, with a Likert score of 4.6 ± 0.8 out of 5. There was 96% agreement between image-based diagnosis and the treating clinician's diagnosis.

Conclusions: We report a handheld smartphone-based device with modifications tailored for wide-field fundus photography in pediatric patients that can rapidly acquire fundus photos while being well-tolerated.

Translational relevance: Advances in handheld smartphone-based fundus photography devices decrease the technical barrier for image acquisition in children and may potentially increase access to ophthalmic care in communities with limited resources.

Keywords: fundus photography; pediatric retina; portable imaging; smartphone; wide-field.