Use of Telemedicine in Pediatric Ophthalmology in the Underserved Population. Semin Ophthalmol 2022;:1-8.Abstract.
Access to pediatric eye care is critical in diagnosing and treating eye disease promptly to prevent visual impairment. The demand for pediatric ophthalmology is high, even in developed countries, and significant socioeconomic disparities exist in access to care. The purpose of this article is to summarize the current literature on the use of telemedicine in pediatric ophthalmology in the underserved population and to identify areas of opportunity. A detailed literature review was performed in PubMed and Google Scholar on October 1, 2021. All articles in English that described the use of telemedicine in pediatric ophthalmology, with particular attention to the underserved pediatric population, were included. There is a paucity of literature on the visual outcomes from pediatric teleophthalmology alone, and even less in underserved populations specifically. Literature supports its use in subacute to chronic eye disease, return and postoperative visits, and screening for retinopathy in prematurity in particular. Collaboration between pediatric optometrists and pediatric ophthalmologists for both asynchronous and synchronous care delivery models has shown promise in several studies. It is essential to operate within the limits of pediatric teleophthalmology and utilize this valuable service for its strengths. Telemedicine may expand access to pediatric ophthalmologists in underserved populations and may reduce the burden of eye disease.