Telemedicine for retinopathy of prematurity

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To examine and review digital retinal imaging via telemedicine as an important screening and diagnostic tool in the management of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Recent findings

The use of wide-angle digital retinal photography to detect clinically significant ROP has been described in numerous reports since 2000. Comparisons with the gold standard of binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy have been favorable. Digital image capture can provide more objective information for disease detection, thereby facilitating internet consultation and retrospective analysis as part of the electronic medical record. As the presence of plus disease in ROP is now the most important criteria for determining the need for laser treatment, computer-based image analysis can potentially provide additional benefit to digital retinal imaging. Telemedicine screening also allows for the extension of diagnostic expertise to underserved areas in both the developed and third world. The role of telemedicine in ROP education will impact both screening efforts and traditional fellowship training in future years.

Summary

As the worldwide incidence of ROP continues to rise, the use of telemedicine for screening, diagnostic and educational purposes will assume increasing importance in the delivery of healthcare for premature infants.

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