A remote rigid gas permeable (RGP) consultation that uses a smartphone, macro lens, and some auxiliary materials can enable continued care for contact lens wearers who are unable or unwilling to attend in-person visits, according to research published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye. While this novel, low-cost method can provide clinicians with high-quality images of the anterior eye, it to be used in combination with, and not instead of, in-person consultations, the report cautions.
The team developed this novel method with 3 components in mind. Clinicians needed to access quality images in order to assess lens fit and evaluate the cornea, a smartphone application needed to accurately and affordably measure visual acuity, and a questionnaire was need to provide clinicians with information to ensure the best clinical care.
Using a macro lens attached to a smartphone with a rubber band, fluorescein sodium
ophthalmic strips, a cobalt blue penlight torch, and a bottle of artificial tears, individuals attending the remote RGP consultation were able to share high quality images of the anterior eye with clinicians. Validated smartphone applications were identified for measuring visual acuity measurements and the investigators were able to develop 2 patient questionnaires to gain additional information and provide optimal patient care.
“[T]his study has developed the components of a remote RGP [contact lens] consultation such that patients who are unable to attend a scheduled appointment (particularly in conditions such as a COVID-19 pandemic) can still receive care and advice to continue to wear their [contact lenses] successfully,” the study authors explain. “Most importantly, the methods developed are an adjunct and not a replacement for face-to-face consultations.”
The team acknowledges that a lack of familiarity with smartphones and the need for a second person to assist with the remote RPG consultation are limitations to using this technology.
Ping X, Pye D. A proposed methodology for conducting a remote rigid gas permeable contact lens consultation. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. Published online July 21, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.clae.2023.101893