Impact on patient management of non-mydriatic fundus photography compared to direct ophthalmoscopy in a regional Australian emergency department

Hamish P. Dunn*, Samuel D. Browning, David Thomson, William B. Yates, Peter McCluskey, Lisa Keay, Andrew J. White, Clare L. Fraser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the management impact of non-mydriatic fundus photography (NMFP) implementation for appropriate ED patients; compare the diagnostic accuracy of direct ophthalmoscopy (DO) and NMFP, and determine the prevalence of fundus pathology in a regional Australian ED. Methods: This before/after crossover study prospectively enrolled patients presenting with headache, neurological deficit, visual disturbance and/or hypertensive urgency. Patients received DO examination, then separate NMFP examination. Emergency clinicians (ECs) were surveyed on their patient management plans following both DO examination and NMFP imaging. Telemedicine review of NMFP images was performed by an ophthalmologist within 48 h, and any additional management changes were documented. Results: The use of NMFP influenced changes in management in 52 (39%) of 133 enrolled patients (95% confidence interval 31–48%). Of these, 65% were escalations of management due to acute fundus pathology, while 35% were de-escalating changes following normal fundus findings. ECs diagnostic accuracy for acute fundus pathology improved from 0% to 29% sensitivity, and 59% to 84% specificity using DO and NMFP respectively, and telemedicine registrar review increased this to 50% sensitivity and 86% specificity. The period prevalence of acute fundus pathology was 10.5% (95% confidence interval 6–17%). Conclusion: The addition of NMFP images can significantly impact the management of ED patients requiring fundus examination, facilitating expedited and optimised patient care. NMFP improves ECs diagnostic acumen for fundus pathology over DO examination and telehealth specialist review is important for diagnostic accuracy. There is a clinically important prevalence of fundus pathology in this regional ED setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-193
Number of pages8
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number2
Early online date27 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • diagnostic techniques
  • emergency service
  • fundus oculi
  • headache
  • ophthalmological
  • ophthalmoscopy


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