General Objectives

Objectives of the Project

The overall aim of OPHTEL was to improve the quality of medical care in ophthalmology. In particular OPHTEL focused on glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy which are the most common causes of blindness in Europe. OPHTEL developed and established services providing fast access to knowledge and patient related data necessary for an early and accurate diagnosis and a selection of an adequate therapy.
Additionally, OPHTEL strengthened the competitiveness of the industrial partners in European and international markets. Software products or services provided by the partners were improved by adding telematic functions and increasing interoperability. The results of OPHTEL are transferable to other medical domains.

Guided by an analysis of user needs, OPHTEL provided a system with the following functionality:

  • Teleconsultation: For example private physicians had the opportunity to get a second opinion from specialists located in hospitals using synchronous communication via video conference systems and asynchronous communication via a multimedia mailbox system.
  • Knowledge based information system: The information system - based on a central information server - provided multimedia information about ophthalmic diseases and therapies as well as news from vendors for ophthalmic instruments, pharmaceutical companies, scientific associations etc.
  • Knowledge based monitoring: Using a standardized documentation of the most relevant findings (like images of the eye background, intraocular pressure, perimetry data), the monitoring system compared these data with "normal values" and detected changes in time. Warnings were generated and recommendations for therapy were given, if the changes reached a preclassified level defined in the medical knowledge base. The final decision about necessary treatment steps was made by the physician.
  • Image processing: Digital analysis and synthesis of images from patients were performed to support diagnosis and monitoring. The image processing were either done on local computers or for complex problems as the 3-dimensional reconstruction of the eye background on remote parallel image processor.
  • Register system: To support the classification and follow up of patients with diabetic retinopathy, a central register was built up. Data collection was based on the SEE (Save Eyes in Europe) software which assists the day-to-day collection of data for the screening of diabetic retinopathy. In contrast to conventional registers the SEE-Register had to include multimedia data (images and videograms) to allow a precise calculation from progress of a patient's disease.