Virtual Ophthalmology: Telemedicine in a COVID-19 Era

Am J Ophthalmol. 2020 Aug:216:237-242. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2020.04.029. Epub 2020 Apr 30.


Purpose: To discuss the effects of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 betacoronavirus on ambulatory ophthalmology practices, the value proposition of telemedicine, teleophthalmology implementation methodologies, and the accelerated future of telemedicine.

Design: Review of the current telehealth landscape including usage, policies, and techniques for ambulatory practice integration.

Methods: We provide author-initiated review of recent trends in telehealth, governmental recommendations for health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a PubMed Central query for telemedicine in ophthalmology or teleophthalmology. In addition, the authors' comprehensive experience in telemedicine design and implementation is provided.

Results: We provide a summary describing the present state of telehealth, teleophthalmology modeling, care delivery, and the proposed impact of telehealth surges on the future of ophthalmology practice.

Conclusion: Recent patient and provider interest in telemedicine, the relaxation of regulatory restrictions, increased remote care reimbursement, and ongoing social distancing practices compel many ophthalmologists to consider virtualizing services.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / organization & administration
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Eye Diseases / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Ophthalmology / organization & administration*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Visual Acuity