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Mona Khurana, R Ramakrishnan, Mohideen A. Kader; Teleophthalmology aided Vision Centres in Rural South India: Role and Utilization of Services. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):4228.
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To Study the Role and Utilization of Services of Teleophthalmology aided Vision Centres in Rural South India
A Retrospective chart review of patients attending 5 vision centres in Tamil Nadu (under Aravind Eye Hospital, Tirunelveli) from a period of May 2007 to October 2010 was done. All patients had undergone a comprehensive eye examination by a trained MLOP (mid level ophthalmic personnel) with standard equipment at the vision centre and online videoconferencing based consultation and treatment by an ophthalmologist at base hospital (Figure1). Patients requiring further investigations or surgery were referred to the base hospital. Data with respect to number of patients screened and diagnosis was analyzed. Records at base hospital were examined to determine utilization of services after referral
91698 patients were examined. 28.8% had refractive errors of which 56.6% were prescribed glasses.4675(5%) had cataract of which 51.9% were operated at the base hospital. 981(1.06%) had glaucoma, 0.2% diabetic retinopathy, 0.16% had low vision. 248 incurably blind were rehabilitated. A total of 12.5% patients were referred to base hospital for surgery or investigations. 87.5% were treated at vision centre. Response rate at the hospital was 83.3 %
Under utilization of existing services in rural areas is due to multiple factors. Vision centres provide access to permanent primary eye care and a comprehensive eye examination having a clear advantage over outreach camps. Videoconferencing with ophthalmologists at base hospital helps in diagnosis and patient satisfaction. It also saves cost for both provider and patient. In the present study, only 12.5% patients required referral to the base hospital mainly for surgery, speciality consultation and investigations. The response rate at base hospital was 83.3%. 87.5% were managed at the vision centre. Teleophthalmology aided Vision Centres are a good, cost effective option in providing primary eye care in rural areas
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