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Cornea and External Disease

Virtual visits OK to triage patients

Posted on July 6, 2022

Virtual eye assessments may reduce in-person visits although caution is needed to ensure vision-threatening conditions are not overlooked, according to a study.

In this retrospective cross-sectional study, 1535 virtual assessments were done after patients uploaded visual acuity and smartphone photographs to an electronic assessment website. Patients were virtually triaged to an email or phone consult.

Most patients (85%) were triaged to a phone consult. Of those patients, 15% required an in-person visit, with 0.1% requiring care at an emergency department. Cornea and retina issues were the most common accounting for 52% and 25% of cases, respectively.

A total of 397 patients reported patient outcomes and satisfaction in a follow-up survey. Overall, 4% said that had an additional unplanned trip to the emergency department, with 2 patients requiring urgent retinal surgery and 1 patient requiring urgent glaucoma surgery. Two patients required a minor treatment change.

Reference
Ma J, Issa M, Varma D, et al. Urgent Virtual Eye Assessments During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Clin Ophthalmol. 2022;16:2069-2078. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S353660. PMID: 35770248; PMCID: PMC9236575.

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