This study aims to investigate the diagnostic accuracy of store-and-forward tele-ophthalmology consultations for non-diabetic patients, aged 40 and above, presenting with vision impairment of 3 months or more, in terms of cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.
This is a prospective comparative study. Enrolled subjects were independently assessed by both tele-ophthalmology and face-to-face assessment. Agreement level between the two modalities for diagnosis and severity were compared using kappa statistic. Diagnostic accuracy of tele-ophthalmology was determined using the face-to-face consultation serving as the gold standard. Costs were compared by calculating the downstream costs generated by each modality in terms of investigations and treatment.
A total of 860 eyes of 430 patients were assessed during the study period. Tele-ophthalmology consultations had significantly high agreement with face-to-face consultations in the diagnosis and grading of all three ocular conditions; cataracts, glaucoma, and AMD. Diagnosis and grading of cataracts and AMD reached κ values of > 0.8, while diagnosis and grading of glaucoma reached κ values between 0.61 and 0.8. In terms of diagnostic accuracy, tele-ophthalmology consultations were highly sensitive and specific for AMD with greater than 99% sensitivity and specificity achieved by tele-ophthalmology. There was high specificity when diagnosing cataracts, but lower sensitivity at 87.8%. Conversely, there was high sensitivity for diagnosing glaucoma, but lower specificity at 76.5%. Downstream costs were similar between groups.
Store-and-forward tele-ophthalmology consultations are accurate and comparable to face-to-face consultations for diagnosis and grading of cataracts, glaucoma, and AMD.
- rospective comparative trial
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Chronic visual loss