Virtual supervision in ophthalmology: a scoping review

Chaerim Kang, Christopher J. Shin, Ingrid U. Scott, Paul B. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: The published information on virtual supervision (VS) in ophthalmology is not well described. This scoping review describes the evidence and potential role for VS in ophthalmic practice and education. Methods: A literature search strategy was developed in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR). We included full-text articles published in an English-language peer-reviewed journal that involved physician-physician or physician-trainee VS in ophthalmology. We excluded studies with direct (in-person) supervision. Two investigators independently extracted from each article the year of publication and study location, design, participant characteristics, sample size, and outcomes. We appraised the methodological quality of the studies using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT). Results: Seven articles were included in our qualitative synthesis. Supervisees ranged from physicians such as an ophthalmic surgeon and a general practitioner to medical trainees such as ophthalmology residents, vitreoretinal fellows, and emergency medicine residents. Study settings included emergency departments, operating rooms, eye clinics, and a rural hospital. All studies reported successful transmission of real-time images or videos of clinical examinations and surgical or in-office procedures. Various methods were used to ensure high image and video quality during VS, although some technical challenges remained. MMAT ratings revealed limitations in outcome measurement, statistical analysis, sampling strategy, and inclusion of confounding factors. Conclusion: Virtual supervision in ophthalmology is technologically feasible and permits synchronous communication and transmission of clinical data, which can be used to formulate diagnostic and management plans and learn new surgical skills. Future studies with larger sample sizes and robust study designs should investigate factors that make VS effective in ophthalmic practice and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2755-2762
Number of pages8
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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