Improved access to quality eye care

Some eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, are most treatable when they are asymptomatic. The challenge is that appointments with ophthalmologists can be months away and involve significant travel and related expenses. OTN’s Teleophthalmology store forward service enables timely, accessible eye care, so eye disease is more likely to be discovered, and treated, before irreversible vision loss.

The Benefits

For providers

  • easier access to retinopathy screening for diabetic patients experiencing barriers to routine eye care
  • more effective triage of patients needing specialized eye care
  • improved clinical support for local eye care providers, so fewer patients have to travel

For patients

  • Diabetic patients who live a prohibitive distance from the nearest optometrist can be screened for retinopathy, close to home, by their community health nurse.
  • Rather than referring their patient for an in-person visit to the ophthalmologist, involving a five-month wait and a day off of work, an optometrist can receive a virtual consultation from an ophthalmologist within 5 days. Patients are then either triaged to in-person care from the ophthalmologist, or on-going care from the optometrist with helpful guidance from the ophthalmologist.
  • Patients under the specialty care of an ophthalmologist can avoid unnecessary travel for follow-up care, by having images of their eyes uploaded to the secure OTN network.

“People can have serious retinal disease but still see perfectly well, so they have no idea the danger they are in. Because I am able to screen them, even over great distances, I am sometimes able to avert serious problems, and in some cases even blindness.”

Dr. Stephen Kosar, Ophthalmologist

How it Works

  • A patient history, accompanied by special images of the eye, are uploaded to the OTN secure store forward network.
  • The consulting ophthalmologist reviews the file and completes a clinical report, including a diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations.
  • Patients are then either referred for ongoing care from a local optometrist, or specialty care from an ophthalmologist.
Teleophthalmology workflow diagram