PURPOSE: This study compares a web-based teleophthalmology assessment with a clinical slit lamp examination to screen for diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) among diabetic patients in a rural East African district. METHODS: Six hundred and twelve eyes from 306 diabetic patients underwent both a clinical slit lamp examination and a teleretina (TR) assessment by an experienced ophthalmologist. Both assessments were compared for any DR and AMD using the early treatment diabetic retinopathy study and age-related eye disease study grading scales, respectively. RESULTS: Of the 612 TR assessment photos, 74 (12%) were deemed ungradable due to media opacities, poor patient cooperation, or unsatisfactory photographs. The ability to detect DR and AMD showed a fair agreement (kappa statistic 0.27 and 0.23, respectively) between the TR and clinical slit lamp examination. Relative to a clinical slit lamp evaluation, a positive TR diagnosis carried a 75.0% positive predictive value when diagnosing DR and a 27.3% positive predictive value when diagnosing AMD. A negative TR diagnosis carried a 97.2% negative predictive value for the diagnosis of DR and a 98.1% negative predictive value for the diagnosis of AMD. CONCLUSION: When comparing TR assessments to clinical slit lamp examinations to diagnose DR and AMD, there was a fair agreement. Although further validation is needed, the TR approach provides a promising method to diagnose DR and AMD, two major causes of ocular impairment worldwide.
- Age-related macular degeneration
- diabetic retinopathy
- slit lamp examination