Imager Evaluation of Diabetic Retinopathy at the Time of Imaging in a Telemedicine Program

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the ability of certified retinal imagers to identify presence versus absence of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy (stDR) (moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy or worse or diabetic macular edema) at the time of retinal imaging in a telemedicine program.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS

Diabetic patients in a primary care setting or specialty diabetes clinic received Joslin Vision Network protocol retinal imaging as part of their care. Trained nonphysician imagers graded the presence versus absence of stDR at the time of imaging. These gradings were compared with masked gradings of certified readers.

RESULTS

Of 158 patients (316 eyes) imaged, all cases of stDR (42 eyes [13%]) were identified by the imagers at the time of imaging. Six eyes with mild nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy were graded by the imagers to have stDR (sensitivity 1.00, 95% CI 0.90–1.00; specificity 0.97, 0.94–0.99).

CONCLUSIONS

Appropriately trained imagers can accurately identify stDR at the time of imaging.

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