Teleophthalmology

We are excited to introduce an exciting new Teleophthalmology program for individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes and live within the Toronto Central LHIN boundary.

This is a South Riverdale Community Health Centre program, funded by the Toronto Central LHIN, and offered in collaboration with Dr. Michael Brent and the University Health Network (UHN). It provides retinal screenings at no cost to the person with diabetes. Screenings are currently being held at South Riverdale, Flemingdon and Parkdale Community Health Centres.

Patients who meet the following criteria are eligible for this service:

  • Live within the Toronto Central LHIN boundary
  • Have a diagnosis of diabetes
  • Have been referral by a physician
  • Have not had an eye exam that involves dilation of pupils within the past year.

This teleophthalmology service is covered under OHIP; however, those who do not have OHIP are also accepted. After the referral is received the client will be contacted to schedule an appointment. The appointment takes approximately 1 hour.

The Teleophthalmology exam is done in 3 steps:

  1. A visual acuity exam is done. This is where the individual’s current vision is measured using a Snellen eye chart. It is important that he/she bring their glasses or contacts with them to the exam.
  2. A numbing eye drop is given in each eye and a Tono-Pen is used to measure intraocular pressure. This procedure is painless.
  3. Another eye drop is given to dilate the pupil of each eye. Once the pupils are dilated, the nurse/ technician will take photographs of the retina. Dilated pupils provide the best view of the retina for photography.

Individuals who may require full eye care or follow-up from the retinopathy screening will be referred to Ophthalmologists and Optometrists.

Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that is highly preventable through annual examination and retinal screenings. It can prevent blindness in up to 90% of those affected if diabetic retinopathy is detected and treated in a timely manner. Approximately one-third of Ontarians with diabetes do not receive retinal screening, something Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) is working to resolve with its Teleophthalmology program. https://otnhub.ca/patient-care/teleophthalmology/

If you have further questions, please contact Garo Rapea, Clinic Assistant at 416-461-2493 ext. 276.

For primary care physicians who are a part of a FHT, referral to Teleophthalmology is a viable way of meeting the retinal screening element required for billing the $60 annual Diabetes Management Incentive. For primary care physicians who are compensated using a fee for service model, referrals to Teleophthalmology may be billed under the K734 code (Physician to physician e consultation – referring physician), which is currently compensated at $16.00 per referral.