Worldwide, at least 2.2 billion people have a visual impairment or blindness, of which at least 1 billion have an undiagnosed and preventable visual impairment.


In Latin America and the Caribbean, it is estimated that for every million people, 5,000 are blind and 20,000 are visually impaired. At least two-thirds of these cases are attributable to treatable conditions.

Blindness and visual impairment are preventable in about 80 percent of cases. It is almost four times more common in poor and illiterate people living in marginal and rural areas.


Currently, telemedicine applied to this field of health represents a unique opportunity that provides greater access to diagnosis and timely treatment in the event of the possible detection of an ocular pathology that, if not diagnosed and treated, can lead to irreversible blindness. Tele-ophthalmology is a useful method that offers a reliable diagnosis for populations with difficult access and low coverage, as it brings state-of-the-art technology to all those who wish to have access to it. It also facilitates timely intervention for the detection of diseases in early and asymptomatic stages, and reduces time and costs associated with long trips to major cities.

In image-oriented specialties such as ophthalmology,  diagnostic decisions are often based on review of photographic/imaging studies and which are often captured by technicians. Therefore, remote diagnosis using store-and-forward telemedicine may be a promising strategy for improving the delivery and accessibility of care in image-oriented fields. Teleophthalmology includes enabling the ophthalmologist to interact with patients at a remote location through video conferencing, share data, and diagnose the patient with the help of local non ophthalmologist doctor or nurse or other practitioner who uses ophthalmic diagnostic equipment to digitally transfer images.



In Colombia there is approximately one ophthalmologist for every 70,000 inhabitants, and most of these specialists are located in the main cities of the country. This generates a great gap in the care of remote populations, in rural areas and areas of difficult access.


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