Dermoscopy can be safely and reliably used in ophthalmology

Heliyon. 2024 Apr 28;10(9):e30293. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e30293. eCollection 2024 May 15.


Objective: To determine if dermoscopy, a technique widely utilized in dermatology for improved diagnosis of skin lesions, can be used comfortably for evaluating periorbital, eyelid, and conjunctival lesions.

Design: Proof-of-concept study in which a technique for performing dermoscopy near the eye was developed, related educational material was prepared, and a protocol for dermoscopic image capture was created.

Methods: Technicians used the developed materials to learn to take high-quality pictures with a 10x dermoscope attached to a standard cell phone camera. The images were assessed for diagnostic utility by an oculoplastic surgeon and two dermatologists.

Participants: 115 patients recruited from ophthalmology clinics from July 2021 to April 2023 were photographed, yielding 129 lesions with high-quality dermoscopic images as assessed by an oculoplastic surgeon and two dermatologists.

Results: Technicians reported a significant increase in confidence (measured on a 1-10 scale) with dermoscopy after training (pre-instruction mean = 1.72, median = 1, mode = 1, IQR = 1.25 vs mean = 7.69, median = 7.75, mode = 7 and 8, IQR = 1.5 post-instruction. Wilcoxon rank sum test with continuity correction, W = 0, p < 0.001, paired t = 13.95, p < 0.0001). Incorporating a contact plate with a 4 × 4mm reticule on the dermoscope aided in photographing ocular and periocular lesions.

Conclusion: Medical support staff in eye-care offices can be taught to use dermoscopes to capture high-quality images of periorbital, eyelid, and conjunctival lesions. Dermoscopy illuminates diagnostic features of lesions and thus offers a new avenue to improve decision-making in ophthalmology. Dermoscopy can be incorporated into telemedicine evaluations by ophthalmologists, oculoplastic surgeons, or affiliated dermatologists for triage of or rendering advice to patients and for planning of surgery if needed.

Keywords: Dermoscopy; Oculoplastic surgery; Ophthalmology; Optometry; Teledermatology; Telemedicine; Teleophthalmology.