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Telegenetics for inherited retinal diseases in the COVID-19 environment.

TitleTelegenetics for inherited retinal diseases in the COVID-19 environment.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsAl-Moujahed, Ahmad, Kumar Aarushi, Chemudupati Teja, Tsang Stephen H., and Mahajan Vinit B.
JournalInt J Retina Vitreous
Date Published2021 Mar 29

Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) are visually debilitating conditions that affect families worldwide. They require extensive clinical testing, examination, and patient and family counseling, which are frequently accomplished over single-day extended clinic visits. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the number of patients and staff allowed in clinics, leading to interruptions in care. We therefore developed telehealth management protocols for complete or hybrid virtual visits. The three main components of our telegenetics approach included reviewing the diagnostic tests results remotely, in-person or virtual video visits with a retina specialist, and virtual genetic testing using saliva kits. During the first 5 months of the program, telegenetic care was provided for 80 patients, including 3 international patients, and a spectrum of retinal dystrophies were diagnosed and managed. In conclusion, telegenetic virtual visits ensure continuity of care while reducing patient and provider exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and may continue and expand into other medical genetic conditions long after the pandemic.

Alternate JournalInt J Retina Vitreous
PubMed ID33781332
PubMed Central IDPMC8006125
Grant ListR01EY026682, R01EY024665, R01EY025225, R01EY024698, R01EY03195201, P30EY026877 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States