UWF scanning technology increases identification of diabetic retinopathy

In a national clinical trial led by Joslin Diabetes Center’s Beetham Eye Institute, ultrawide field (UWF) scanning technology significantly improved the ability of experts at a remote central location to identify diabetic retinopathy in a patient, and to judge whether the eye disease warranted referring the patient to an ophthalmologist for further care.
The national trial confirms findings of earlier research on Beetham patients with UWF imaging, says Paolo Silva, M.D., staff ophthalmologist and assistant chief of telemedicine, and lead author on a paper appearing today in the journalOphthalmology.
“These data demonstrate that when we deploy this technology in a community-based setting, we can achieve the same magnitude of reduction in ungradable images and increased identification of eye disease as we saw in the academic research environment,” Silva says.
Examining more than 25,000 patients in the U.S. Indian Health Service-Joslin Vision Network (IHS-JVN) telemedicine program, the researchers showed that UWF imaging dropped the number of ungradable eye images by 81% compared to imaging using traditional digital retinal photographs.
The IHS-JVN national network evaluates over 18,000 patients each year. Improved imaging for that total population would translate to almost 4,000 patients who otherwise would have been given urgent referrals for care that ultimately would not have been needed, Silva says.
Traditional Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) photography, which has remained the gold standard for diabetic eye imaging for decades, combines seven retinal photographs to image about 30 percent of the retina. In contrast, “with UWF, we’re able to see 82 percent of the retina in a single retinal image, with high resolution,” Silva says……
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Source: News Medical