Diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes, is most treatable when asymptomatic. The challenge is that patient appointments with ophthalmologists can be months away and involve significant travel and related expenses. OTN’s Teleophthalmology program enables timely, accessible eye care, so eye disease is more likely to be discovered — and treated — before irreversible vision loss.
How it Works
The program is simple; the referring physician sends patients for retinal screening at one of 10 Teleophthalmology sites across Ontario. The images are placed on OTN’s secure server. The data is then securely forwarded or “uploaded” to an ophthalmologist for assessment, diagnosis and/or treatment recommendations. The referring physician then coordinates the necessary follow-up care.
Improved rates of retinal assessment and follow-up for patients with diabetes as retinal screening is part of a comprehensive diabetic assessment
More timely and convenient access to retinopathy screening for patients with diabetes experiencing barriers to routine eye care, be it wait times or distance challenges.
Improved clinical support for local eye care providers, so fewer patients have to travel, and optimization of vision health care resources.
Patients under the care of an ophthalmologist can avoid unnecessary travel for follow-up care by having their eye images securely uploaded via OTN.
Teleophthalmology has been shown to be an effective option for communities that have large numbers of patients with diabetes who have not been seen by an eye care professional in the last two years, as per Canadian Diabetes Association guidelines. Following are some useful studies on this approach:
Cost-Utility Analysis of Telemedicine and Ophthalmoscopy for Retinopathy of Prematurity Management
Development of a cost-effectiveness model for optimisation of the screening interval in diabetic retinopathy screening
Fundus Photography in the 21st Century—A Review of Recent Technological Advances and Their Implications for Worldwide Healthcare
Any Ontario physician can refer a patient for retinal screening at a Teleophthalmology site. Please see map below for sites where Teleophthalmology is delivered.
- William Osler Centre for Complex Diabetes Care (Brampton, Ontario)
- South Riverdale Community Health Centre (Toronto, Ontario)
- Black Creek Community Health Centre (North York, Ontario)
- St. Joseph Healthcare (Hamilton, Ontario)
- Rideau Community Health Centre (Smith Falls, Ontario)
- Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (Moose Factory, Ontario)
- Manitoulin Central Family Health Team (Mindemoya, Ontario)
- Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (Thunder Bay, Ontario)
- Meno Ya Win Health Centre (Sioux Lookout, Ontario)
- Keewaytinook Okimakanak Telemedicine (Balmertown, Ontario)