Telemedicine is not a new concept. Physicians in Australia were using two-way radio to treat patients in rural Australia in the 1920s. Almost a century later, glaucoma is going remote.
“In the glaucoma clinic of the future, patients will be checking their own eye pressure,” predicted Louis Pasquale, MD, professor of ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, and director of Glaucoma Service and Teleretinal Program, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston. “They will be doing their own visual fields and imaging their own discs. This will convert the glaucoma clinic to focus on the patients who really need to be seen.”
Dr. Pasquale moderated “New Horizons in Telemedicine” session and set the scene for changes that are already underway. The session was part of the New Horizons Forum at the 2017 Glaucoma 360 meeting.
“‘Teleglaucoma’ is feasible and can play a major role in blindness prevention,” said Lama A. Al-Aswad, MD, MPH, associate professor of ophthalmology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. “Telemedicine and teleglaucoma are going to be an important part of how we take care of patients in the United States and worldwide.”
Telemedicine is practicing medicine over a spatial or temporal distance by using electronic communications, Dr. Aswad explained. Glaucoma is an ideal candidate for telemedicine because patients tend to be older and less mobile. The disease is chronic and the technology exists for remote screening, diagnosis, and treatment.