Background/aims Digital retinal imaging using store-and-forward technology is used to screen for diabetic retinopathy (DR). Its usefulness in detecting non-diabetic eye diseases is uncertain. We determined the level of agreement between teleretinal imaging supplemented with visual acuity and intraocular pressure (IOP) measurements (ie, technology-assisted eye (TAE) exam) and a comprehensive eye exam in evaluation for DR and non-diabetic ocular conditions.
Methods We conducted a prospective, observational study with two parallel evaluations. Patients with diabetes (n=317) had a TAE exam and a comprehensive eye exam on the same day. A subset of participants with normal baseline exams (n=72) had follow-up exams 1 year later. We measured the level of agreement for referable ocular findings.
Results Agreement for referable ocular findings was moderate (n=389, agreement: 77%; κ: 0.55), due in part to ungradable exams (22%). However, about half of the ungradable exams had findings that warranted referral. There was substantial agreement for follow-up exams (n=72, agreement: 93%; κ: 0.63). Among all gradable exams (n=303), the TAE exam had 86% sensitivity and 84% specificity for referable ocular findings, with high agreement (≥94%) for DR and other major ocular diagnoses.
Conclusions There was moderate-to-substantial agreement between a TAE exam and a comprehensive eye exam for referable ocular findings in patients with diabetes. Ungradable exams were a frequent marker of ocular pathology. Teleretinal imaging may be a useful evaluation for both diabetic and non-diabetic ocular conditions.