A new technology is allowing doctors to see a wider view of the inside the eye. This was not previously possible with any other non-dilated retinal imaging device. Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center led by Paolo Silva, M.D., staff ophthalmologist and assistant chief of telemedicine, have confirmed that ultrawide field imaging can significantly improve the ability to identify diabetic retinopathy in its early stages.
Ultrawide field imaging takes pictures of the inside of the eye without the need for pupillary dilation. Non-dilated imaging has been available in the past, but that technology has only been able to view limited area of the retina, approximately 5 percent to 30 percent. Ultrawide field imaging allows doctors to see up to 82 percent of the surface of the retina in a single image.
Based on the results of the trial, the use of these types of imaging devices have been used to great success in areas of the country with more limited access to ophthalmologists. Primary care doctors are able scan eyes and send the images remotely to a separate location staffed with retinal specialists who can see if there are any signs of eye disease. The researchers involved in this recent study performed their analyses on images gathered through the U.S. Indian Health Service-Joslin Vision Network (IHS-JVN). The higher resolution of the ultrawide field images allow a more accurate detection of diabetic retinopathy, and the earlier the disease is detected the higher the chance of successful treatment.
This study was done as follow-up to a study published in late 2015 that used ultrawide field imaging to detect diabetic changes in the eye that may help predict more accurately which eyes are at increased risk for worsening of their eye condition.