Tele-ophthalmology for age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy screening: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Background: To synthesize high-quality evidence to compare traditional in-person screening and tele-ophthalmology screening.
Methods: Only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis. The intervention of interest was any type of tele-ophthalmology, including screening of diseases using remote devices. Studies involved patients receiving care from any trained provider via tele-ophthalmology, compared with those receiving equivalent face-to-face care. A search was executed on the following databases: Medline, EMBASE, EBM Reviews, Global Health, EBSCO-CINAHL, SCOPUS, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global, OCLC Papers First, and Web of Science Core Collection. Six outcomes of care for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), or glaucoma were measured and analyzed.
Results: Two hundred thirty-seven records were assessed at the full-text level; six RCTs fulfilled inclusion criteria and were included in this review. Four studies involved participants with diabetes mellitus, and two studies examined choroidal neovascularization in AMD. Only data of detection of disease and participation in the screening program were used for the meta-analysis. Tele-ophthalmology had a 14% higher odds to detect disease than traditional examination; however, the result was not statistically significant (n = 2,012, odds ratio: 1.14, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.52-2.53, p = 0.74). Meta-analysis results show that odds of having DR screening in the tele-ophthalmology group was 13.15 (95% CI: 8.01-21.61; p < 0.001) compared to the traditional screening program.
Conclusions: The current evidence suggests that tele-ophthalmology for DR and age-related macular degeneration is as effective as in-person examination and potentially increases patient participation in screening.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Telemedicine and e-Health