Telemedicine Approach to Screening for Severe Retinopathy of Prematurity: A Pilot Study

Anna L. Ells, Jonathan M. Holmes, William F. Astle, Geoff Williams, David A. Leske, Michael Fielden, Brad Uphill, Penny Jennett, Marilynne Hebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the use of remote reading of digital retinal photographs in the diagnosis of severe (referral -warranted) retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) during longitudinal screening for ROP. Study Design: Prospective, longitudinal cohort study. Subjects: Forty-four consecutive premature infants at risk for ROP. Methods: All infants were examined longitudinally, over a series of examinations, by indirect ophthalmoscopy (gold standard) and digital photography using the RetCam-120 Digital Retinal Camera (Massie Research Laboratories Inc., Dublin, CA) equipped with an ROP lens. Images were stored and read remotely by a masked reader. Referral-warranted ROP was defined as ROP in zone 1, the presence of plus disease or the presence of any stage 3 ROP. We determined whether and when referral-warranted ROP was diagnosed for each eye, of each infant, on each examination, during the course of each of the infant's screening. Results: Severe (referral-warranted) ROP was diagnosed in 23 eyes by indirect ophthalmoscopy during their series of examinations. Digital photography had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 96% in detecting referral-warranted ROP. The positive predictive value of digital photography was 92%, and the negative predictive value was 100%. In 87% of eyes, referral-warranted ROP was diagnosed by digital photography before or at the same time as indirect ophthalmoscopy. Conclusions: Longitudinal remote reading of digital photographs using the RetCam-120 system has excellent specificity and sensitivity in detecting referral-warranted ROP. This pilot study has shown that remote reading of digital photographs has promise for telemedicine strategies in ROP screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2113-2117
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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