Northern Alberta remote teleglaucoma program: Clinical outcomes and patient disposition

Document Type





Objective: To review the diagnostic outcomes and clinical referral pathways of patients assessed and managed through a collaborative care patient-centred teleglaucoma program.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study.
Methods: Eligible patients were those assessed by the referring optometrist or ophthalmologist to be open-angle glaucoma suspects or to have definite early open-angle glaucoma. A glaucoma specialist graded each case through virtual consultation. Clinical referral pathways were noted: in-person consultation with glaucoma specialist, repeat teleconsultation, collaborative glaucoma management with optometrist, or referral for nonglaucomatous ophthalmic pathology.
Results: A total of 247 patients were referred to the program from 2008 to 2012. Of all teleconsults, 31.1% were diagnosed with glaucoma, 42.1% were suspects, and 26.7% were unaffected. Of all patients, 27% were referred for in-person glaucoma evaluation; 69% of patients could be managed by their referring optometrist, with 48% of patients requiring repeat teleconsultation. Treatment was initiated before being seen for 87% of patients with definite glaucoma and 28% of glaucoma suspects.
Conclusions: Of all patients seen through the remote teleglaucoma program, most did not require an in-person consultation with an ophthalmologist and could be managed through distance collaboration. For the approximately one third who were diagnosed with glaucoma based on virtual assessment, medication was started in the majority of cases and in-person consultation was arranged. Further studies to validate and consider cost-effectiveness of this system are under way.


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

Publication (Name of Journal)

Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology