Young girl undergoing an opthamology examination with a health care worker. (Image: iStock)

A young girl in a clinic recieves an eye examination by a local health care worker. (Image: iStock)

Delivering specialist eye care to remote communities

We've developed an innovative telehealth solution to solve the problem of delivering specialist eye care to remote communities.

  • 25 January 2013 | Updated 26 February 2014

The challenge

Early detection of common eye diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy can prevent permanent blindness in 70 per cent of people.

However, for people living in remote communities, a face-to-face consultation with an ophthalmologist based in the city is a financial and time burden that impacts family and income-generating work.

The solution

To solve the problem of delivering specialist eye-care to remote communities, we have developed Remote-I, an award-winning system to screen people at risk of eye disease.

In partnership with Port Headland hospital, WA Department of Health, WA Country Health Services and the Pilbara Development Commission’s Royalties for Regions program, the system has been successfully trialled in the isolated Pilbara region of Western Australia. 

The impact

Local nurses and doctors were trained to use Remote-I to capture high-resolution images of the patient’s retina with a special low-cost camera, and securely forward the encrypted images to a city-based ophthalmologist via a broadband connection.

The specialist could then examine a full 3D reconstruction of the patient’s retina, overcoming the need for a live consultation.

Remote-I’s built-in comparisons for various eye diseases also helped local care providers identify people in need of urgent treatment.

The Pilbara trial showed that patients were able to be treated locally rather than requiring a trip to the city to receive the same quality of care.

Improving access to ophthalmology services with technologies such as our Remote-I system holds value as a health service delivery tool in isolated communities to reduce preventable blindness.

Remote-I technology has potential to be adapted to other health needs and is currently being investigated for use in emergency and wound care.

Read more about Remote-I or contact our business development team to find out more about our telehealth technologies.