Epidemiology and Biostatistics Publications

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PLoS One





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doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113779


BACKGROUND: Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment in the world affecting 60.5 million people worldwide in 2010, which is expected to increase to approximately 79.6 million by 2020. Therefore, glaucoma screening is important to detect, diagnose, and treat patients at the earlier stages to prevent disease progression and vision loss. Teleglaucoma uses stereoscopic digital imaging to take ocular images, which are transmitted electronically to an ocular specialist. The purpose is to synthesize literature to evaluate teleglaucoma, its diagnostic accuracy, healthcare system benefits, and cost-effectiveness.

METHODS: A systematic search was conducted to help locate published and unpublished studies. Studies which evaluate teleglaucoma as a screening device for glaucoma were included. A meta-analysis was conducted to provide estimates of diagnostic accuracy, diagnostic odds ratio, and the relative percentage of glaucoma cases detected. The improvements to healthcare service quality and cost data were assessed.

RESULTS: Of 11237 studies reviewed, 45 were included. Our results indicated that, teleglaucoma is more specific and less sensitive than in-person examination. The pooled estimates of sensitivity was 0.832 [95% CI 0.770, 0.881] and specificity was 0.790 [95% CI 0.668, 0.876]. The relative odds of a positive screen test in glaucoma cases are 18.7 times more likely than a negative screen test in a non-glaucoma cases. Additionally, the mean cost for every case of glaucoma detected was $1098.67 US and of teleglaucoma per patient screened was $922.77 US.

CONCLUSION: Teleglaucoma can accurately discriminate between screen test results with greater odds for positive cases. It detects more cases of glaucoma than in-person examination. Both patients and the healthcare systems benefit from early detection, reduction in wait and travel times, increased specialist referral rates, and cost savings. Teleglaucoma is an effective screening tool for glaucoma specifically for remote and under-services communities.


PMID: 25479593

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