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Portable Device Can Measure Diabetic Retinopathy

Study finds no significant difference in scoring between chart and new, portable screening system

WEDNESDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- A new portable device performs as well in visual acuity testing as the "gold standard" screening method for patients with diabetic retinopathy, according to a report in the March issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

The Optec 800 is a compact and portable visual acuity testing device that projects a miniaturized Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) chart within its enclosed housing. Lori Ann Kehler, O.D., of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues tested 33 subjects (average age, 57 years) from the Vanderbilt Eye Institute on both the Optec 800 and ETDRS chart, to determine whether the Optec 800 produces scores commensurate with the "gold standard" chart.

There was no significant difference in subject scores between the two testing methods; gender, age and testing order (that is, which device the subject was tested on first) did not affect performance. There was a weak inverse correlation between age and score, however.

"Other groups should be studied with this device, including children and patients with known ophthalmic disease," the authors write. "Future work should also explore the role of refractive correction on performance with the Optec 800, since it has been shown that small amounts of uncorrected refractive error can increase test-retest variability."

The study was funded by a grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc.

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