Tele-imaging holds promise for rural patients

March 14, 2014

ing a presentation at SECO on Friday, Tony Cavallerano, OD, FAAO, said tele-imaging will help break down access to care barriers, especially for those in rural and underserved communities.

Atlanta, GA-During a presentation at SECO on Friday, Tony Cavallerano, OD, FAAO, said tele-imaging will help break down access to care barriers, especially for those in rural and underserved communities.

Through tele-imaging, a patient can go to a primary care doctor for the imaging, and the images are sent on to an eyecare professional. Dr. Cavallerano spoke primarily on monitoring patients with diabetes but said it would also work for imaging macula and the optic nerve.

Dr. Cavallerano says tele-retinal imaging is a viable option to screen for important sight-threatening conditions. As the population ages, this changing demographic will drive the need to conduct more retinal screenings.

But standardization and validation is critical for maintaining high levels of sensitivity and specificity.

“Some day we may even be doing eye exams using telemedicine, although nothing can replace the critical thinking and reasoning skills we develop along the way throughout our careers,” says Dr. Cavallerano.

Dr. Cavallerano says he believes large imaging devices will soon become a thing of the past, and he envisions a day when a patient would take a “selfie” of her own retina.