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Standardizing eye imaging data

A roadmap to the adoption of imaging standards in eye research
November 29, 2023

With input from the research community, leaders from the National Eye Institute (NEI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) have together published an editorial in the journal Ophthalmology on the value of being able to store and share eye imaging data among clinicians, patients, and researchers in standard formats.

imaging technician

A technician looks at imaging data. Credit National Eye Institute.

A tremendous volume of ocular imaging data is generated in clinical and research settings, and despite advances in imaging technology, clinicians and researchers continue to struggle with efficiently sharing images with others, including their patients. Modern research relies on big data; widespread adoption of standards will greatly enhance digital workflow.

"Data standardization is essential because it allows different systems to use and share data efficiently," write the authors, including NEI Director Michael F. Chiang, M.D.; Malvina Eydelman, M.D., director of the FDA's Office of Ophthalmic, Anesthesia, Respiratory, ENT, and Dental Services; and Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., M.P.P., ONC’s national coordinator for health information technology.

The editorial outlines the chief challenges in managing imaging data, which has advanced from simple photographic documentation to advanced objective measures that help with diagnosis, evaluation of therapeutics, and disease management. 

The authors outline new policies, recommendations, and requirements by the NEI, the FDA, and the ONC designed to encourage the widespread adoption of imaging standards. Such actions, they say, will result in data capture, storage, and exchange practices that enable the sharing of large datasets and the creation of large training sets for machine learning.


Goetz KE, Reed AA, Chiang MF, et al. Accelerating Care: A Roadmap to Interoperable Ophthalmic Imaging Standards in the United States. Ophthalmology. Nov 6 2023; doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2023.10.001.