Obtaining a clear assessment of the anterior segment is critical for disease diagnosis and management in ophthalmic telemedicine. The anterior segment can be imaged with slit lamp cameras, robotic remote controlled slit lamps, cell phones, cell phone adapters, digital cameras, and webcams, all of which can enable remote care. The ability of these devices to identify various ophthalmic diseases has been studied, including cataracts, as well as abnormalities of the ocular adnexa, cornea, and anterior chamber. This article reviews the current state of anterior segment imaging for the purpose of ophthalmic telemedical care.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is the leading cause of childhood blindness in very-low-birthweight and very preterm infants in the United States. With improved survival of smaller babies, more infants are at risk for ROP, yet there is an increasing shortage of providers to screen and treat ROP. Through a literature review of new and emerging technologies, screening criteria, and analysis of a national survey of pediatric ophthalmologists and retinal specialists, the authors found the shortage of ophthalmology workforce for ROP a serious and growing concern. When used appropriately, emerging technologies have the potential to mitigate gaps in the ROP workforce.
Virtual visits (VVs) are necessitated due to the public health crisis and social distancing mandates due to COVID-19. However, these have been rare in ophthalmology. Over 3.5 years of conducting >350 ophthalmological VVs, our group has gained numerous insights into best practices. This communication shares these experiences with the medical community to support patient care during this difficult time and beyond. We highlight that mastering the technological platform of choice, optimizing lighting, camera positioning, and "eye contact," being thoughtful and creative with the virtual eye examination, and ensuring good documenting and billing will make a successful and efficient VV. Moreover, we think these ideas will stimulate further VV creativity and expertise to be developed in ophthalmology and across medicine. This approach, holds promise for increasing its adoption after the crisis has passed.
Telemedicine is the provision of healthcare-related services from a distance and is poised to move healthcare from the physician's office back into the patient's home. The field of ophthalmology is often at the forefront of technological advances in medicine including telemedicine and the use of artificial intelligence. Multiple studies have demonstrated the reliability of tele-ophthalmology for use in screening and diagnostics and have demonstrated benefits to patients, physicians, as well as payors. There remain obstacles to widespread implementation, but recent legislation and regulation passed due to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic have helped to reduce some of these barriers. This review describes the current status of tele-ophthalmology in the United States including benefits, hurdles, current programs, technology, and developments in artificial intelligence. With ongoing advances patients may benefit from improved detection and earlier treatment of eye diseases, resulting in better care and improved visual outcomes.
Wendt S, Abdullah Z, Barrett S, Daruwalla C, Go JA, Le B, Li E, Livingston C, Miller M, Nakhleh L, Pecha J, Pothula S, Pradhan S, Sathappan V, Shah A, Sonuyi A-M, Ugoh P, Wang Q, Weber N, Succar T, Blieden L, Mortensen P, Elkin Z, Sun G, Lee AG. A virtual COVID-19 ophthalmology rotation. Surv Ophthalmol 2021;66(2):354-361.Abstract
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic temporarily suspended medical student involvement in clinical rotations, resulting in the need to develop virtual clinical experiences. The cancellation of clinical ophthalmology electives and away rotations reduces opportunities for exposure to the field, to network with faculty, conduct research, and prepare for residency applications. We review the literature and discuss the impact and consequences of COVID-19 on undergraduate medical education with an emphasis on ophthalmic undergraduate medical education. We also discuss innovative learning modalities used from medical schools around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic such as virtual didactics, online cases, and telehealth. Finally, we describe a novel, virtual neuro-ophthalmology elective created to educate medical students on neuro-ophthalmology foundational principles, provide research and presentation opportunities, and build relationships with faculty members. These innovative approaches represent a step forward in further improving medical education in ophthalmology during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.