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Effectiveness of Conventional Digital Fundus Photography-Based Teleretinal Screening for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema: A Report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Ophthalmology 2024 April 12
PURPOSE: This American Academy of Ophthalmology Ophthalmic Technology Assessment aims to assess the effectiveness of conventional teleretinal screening (TS) in detecting diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME).

METHODS: A literature search of the PubMed database was conducted most recently in July 2023 to identify data published between 2006 and 2023 on any of the following elements related to TS effectiveness: (1) the accuracy of TS in detecting DR or DME compared with traditional ophthalmic screening with dilated fundus examination or 7-standard field Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study photography, (2) the impact of TS on DR screening compliance rates or other patient behaviors, and (3) cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction of TS compared with traditional DR screening. Identified studies then were rated based on the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine grading system.

RESULTS: Eight level I studies, 14 level II studies, and 2 level III studies were identified in total. Although cross-study comparison is challenging because of differences in reference standards and grading methods, TS demonstrated acceptable sensitivity and good specificity in detecting DR; moderate to good agreement between TS and reference-standard DR grading was observed. Performance of TS was not as robust in detecting DME, although the number of studies evaluating DME specifically was limited. Two level I studies, 5 level II studies, and 1 level III study supported that TS had a positive impact on overall DR screening compliance, even increasing it by more than 2-fold in one study. Studies assessing cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction were not graded formally, but they generally showed that TS was cost-effective and preferred by patients over traditional surveillance.

CONCLUSIONS: Conventional TS is an effective approach to DR screening not only for its accuracy in detecting referable-level disease, but also for improving screening compliance in a cost-effective manner that may be preferred by patients. Further research is needed to elucidate the ideal approach of TS that may involve integration of artificial intelligence or other imaging technologies in the future.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found in the Footnotes and Disclosures at the end of this article.

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