9 Oct 2023
retinopathy, tele-retinography, mobile health, ocular lesions, 3D-printing, digital health
Varo R, Postigo M, Bila R, et al. Evaluation of the Performance of a 3D-Printed Smartphone-Based Retinal Imaging Device as a Screening Tool for Retinal Pathology in Mozambique. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2023;109(5):1192-1198. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.23-0378
Low-income countries carry approximately 90% of the global burden of visual impairment, and up to 80% of this could be prevented or cured. However, there are only a few studies on the prevalence of retinal disease in these countries. Easier access to retinal information would allow differential diagnosis and promote strategies to improve eye health, which are currently scarce. This pilot study aims to evaluate the functionality and usability of a tele-retinography system for the detection of retinal pathology, based on a low-cost portable retinal scanner, manufactured with 3D printing and controlled by a mobile phone with an application designed ad hoc. The study was conducted at the Manhiça Rural Hospital in Mozambique. General practitioners, with no specific knowledge of ophthalmology or previous use of retinography, performed digital retinographies on 104 hospitalized patients. The retinographies were acquired in video format, uploaded to a web platform, and reviewed centrally by two ophthalmologists, analyzing the image quality and the presence of retinal lesions. In our sample there was a high proportion of exudates and hemorrhages—8% and 4%, respectively. In addition, the presence of lesions was studied in patients with known underlying risk factors for retinal disease, such as HIV, diabetes, and/or hypertension. Our tele-retinography system based on a smartphone coupled with a simple and low-cost 3D printed device is easy to use by healthcare personnel without specialized ophthalmological knowledge and could be applied for the screening and initial diagnosis of retinal pathology.