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Telemedicine uses technology to connect patients at home with doctors at another location, so the doctors can deliver care at a distance. When it is not possible to meet with your eye care team in-office, telemedicine is an important option provided by many treatment centers. These appointments may be via a phone call, or video conferencing using a computer or tablet.
Telemedicine can help maintain communication with your doctor between treatment appointments, and supports wet macular degeneration management. To learn more about condition management, click here.
Here are some remote ophthalmology care options to consider discussing with your doctor:
Real-time video or phone consultation
Telemedicine may reduce the need to travel to every eye care appointment, whether you live in a city, rural and remote area. Research of patient satisfaction with video consultations showed that the majority of patients were very satisfied with their telemedicine visit and felt they could easily explain their medical concerns to the doctor1.
If you do not have access to technology that allows for a video appointment, you can ask your eye care team if they offer consultations by phone.
Online messages or chat
Your doctor may offer a secure online messaging or chat platform that allows you to discuss symptoms or ask questions in writing. This can be another option that provides a direct line into your doctor and helps you avoid leaving your home for non-critical care. Of course, for any emergency health concerns, you should use your local emergency telephone number to seek immediate help.
What comes next?
New digital technology is being developed and studied to further improve remote screening2, diagnosis and condition management. This includes potential approaches such as smartphone-based retinal imaging systems3. While many of these efforts are still in development, this shows promise that more remote care options will be available in the future. Novel approaches may allow for the expansion of high-quality, convenient wet macular degeneration care4,5.
Telemedicine visits have been shown to put less strain on people with macular degeneration by removing the planning and logistical needs6. To learn more about managing your wet macular degeneration from home, speak to your eye care team.
1Host, B.K., Turner, A.W. and Muir, J. Real‐time teleophthalmology video consultation: an analysis of patient satisfaction in rural Western Australia. Clin Exp Optom. 2017; 101: 129-134.
2De Bats F, De Bats F, Vannier Nitenberg C, Fantino B, Denis P, Kodjikian L. Age-Related Macular Degeneration Screening Using a Nonmydriatic Digital Color Fundus Camera and Telemedicine. Ophthalmologica. 2014;231:172-176.
3Rajalakshmi R, Arulmalar S, Usha M, et al. Validation of Smartphone Based Retinal Photography for Diabetic Retinopathy Screening. PLoS One. 2015;10(9):e0138285.
4Christopher J. Brady and Seema Garg. Telemedicine for Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Telemedicine and e-Health. 2020; 26:4, 565-568.
5Karim F Damji, Atsushi Kawaguchi, et al. Tele-ophthalmology for age related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy: A systematic review and meta analysis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):5559.
6Starr, Matthew R. et al. Telemedicine in the Management of Exudative Age-Related Macular Degeneration within an Integrated health care System. American Journal of Ophthalmology. 2019; 208, 206 – 210.