Effectiveness of a telemedicine program for triage and diagnosis of emergent ophthalmic conditions


Meshkin RS, Armstrong GW, Hall NE, Rossin EJ, Hymowitz MB, Lorch AC. Effectiveness of a telemedicine program for triage and diagnosis of emergent ophthalmic conditions. Eye (Lond) 2022;

Date Published:

2022 Jan 26


BACKGROUND: To study the utility of a teleophthalmology program to diagnose and triage common ophthalmic complaints presenting to an ophthalmic emergency room. METHODS: Prospective, observational study of 258 eyes of 129 patients presenting to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Emergency Ward (MEE EW) who completed a questionnaire to gather chief complaint (CC), history of present illness, and medical history. Anterior and posterior segment photographs were collected via iPhone 5 C camera and a Canon non-mydriatic fundus camera, respectively. Ophthalmic vital signs were collected. All information was reviewed remotely by three ophthalmologists; a diagnosis and urgency designation were recorded. The remote assessment was compared to gold standard in-person assessment. RESULTS: The 129 recruited patients collectively contributed 220 visual complaints, of which 121 (55%) were from females with mean age 56.5 years (range 24-89). Sensitivities and specificities for telemedical triage were as follows: eye pain (n = 56; sensitivity: 0.58, CI [0.41, 0.74]; specificity: 0.91, CI [0.80, 1]), eye redness (n = 54; 0.68, CI [0.50, 0.86]; 0.93, CI [0.84, 1]), blurry vision (n = 68; 0.73, CI [0.60, 0.86]; 0.91, CI [0.80, 1]), and eyelid complaints (n = 42; 0.67, CI [0.43, 0.91]; 0.96, CI [0.89, 1]). The remote diagnostic accuracies, as stratified by CC, were eye pain (27/56; 48.21%), eye redness: (32/54; 59.26%), blurry vision: (30/68; 44.11%), eyelid (24/42; 57.14%). CONCLUSIONS: Telemedical examination of emergent ophthalmic complaints consisting of a patient questionnaire, anterior segment and fundus photos, and ophthalmic vital signs, may be useful to reliably triage eye disease based on presenting complaint.

Last updated on 02/01/2022