Aetna considers extended ophthalmoscopy with a detailed retinal drawing for evaluation of the posterior portion of the eye following routine ophthalmoscopy medically necessary for any of the following indications:
Blunt injury to the eye or periorbital structures; or
Chorioretinitis, chorioretinal scars or choroidal degeneration, dystrophies, hemorrhage and rupture, or detachment; or
Choroidal nevus being evaluated for malignant transformation; or
Degenerative disorders of the globe; or
Diabetic retinopathy (i.e., background retinopathy or proliferative retinopathy retinal vascular occlusion, or separation of the retinal layers); or
Disorders of the vitreous body (i.e., vitreous hemorrhage or posterior vitreous detachment); or
High axial length myopia (-6.00 Diopters or less [toward -10.00 D]); or
High-risk medication for retinopathy or optic neuropathy; or
Macular degeneration; or
Malignant neoplasm of the retina or choroid; or
Optic atrophy associated with a progressive and potentially reversible cause (e.g., glaucoma); or
Penetrating wound to the orbit resulting in the retention of a foreign body in the eye; or
Posterior scleritis; or
Retained (old) intra-ocular foreign body, either magnetic or non-magnetic; or
Retinal defects without retinal detachment; or
Retinal detachment, with or without retinal defect; or
Retinal edema; or
Retinal hemorrhage, ischemia, exudates and deposits, hereditary retinal dystrophies or peripheral retinal degeneration; or
Retinopathy of prematurity; or
Retinoschisis and retinal cysts; or
Sudden visual loss or transient visual loss; or
Suspected endophthalmitis as evidenced by severe pain, redness, photophobia, and profound loss of vision; or
Symptoms suggestive of retinal defect; or
Systemic disorders associated with retinal pathology; or
Uncontrolled glaucoma or glaucoma suspect; or
Vogt-Koyanagi syndrome characterized by bilateral uveitis, dysacousia, meningeal irritation, whitening of patches of hair (poliosis), vitiligo, and retinal detachment.
Aetna considers repeat extended ophthalmoscopy medically necessary when there is a change in signs, symptoms or condition for indications (listed in the afore-mentioned policy section) that may progress.
Aetna considers extended ophthalmoscopy with a detailed retinal drawing experimental and investigational for the following indications because its effectiveness for these indications has not been established (not an all inclusive list):
Congenital hypertrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium
Periodic comprehensive medical eye examinations are recommended in adults without known ocular conditions or risk factors in an effort to detect ocular disease and provide early treatment, thereby preserving visual function. They are also performed periodically to evaluate new symptoms and monitor patients with previously identified eye conditions or risk factors. A comprehensive ophthalmologic evaluation may also be useful in the initial diagnosis of a number of systemic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and infectious diseases. A comprehensive medical eye evaluation includes history, examination, diagnosis, and initiation of management. Routine ophthalmoscopy is part of general and special ophthalmologic services when indicated and is useful for viewing the vitreous humor, retina, optic nerve, retinal veins and arteries, and associated structures.
Extended ophthalmoscopy is a method of examining the posterior portion of the eye when the level of examination requires a complete view of the back of the eye and documentation is greater than that required during routine ophthalmsocopy. Extended ophthalmoscopy may be indicated for a wide range of posterior segment pathology. This inspection permits visualization of the optic disk, arteries, veins, retina, choroid, and media. It is usually performed with the pupil dilated, to ensure optimal examination of the retina, utilizing indirect ophthalmoscopy. It may also be performed using contact lens biomicroscopy and may use scleral depression.
In all instances extended ophthalmoscopy must be medically necessary. A serious retinal condition must exist, or be suspected, based on routine ophthalmoscopy and require further detailed study. Extended ophthalmoscopy must add information not available from the standard evaluation services and/or information that will demonstrably affect the treatment plan. It is not necessary, for example, to confirm information already available by other means. When other ophthalmological tests (e.g., fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, ultrasound, optical coherence tomography, etc.) have been performed, extended ophthalmoscopy is not necessary unless there is a reasonable medical expectation that the multiple imaging services might provide additive (non-duplicative) information.
The frequency for providing extended ophthalmoscopy depends upon the medical necessity in each patient and this, of course, relates to the diagnosis. A single drawing is necessary if it documents clinically significant details that can not be adequately or succinctly communicated in writing alone. Sequential drawings may be necessary when they describe a condition within the eye that is subject to change in extent, appearance, or size, and where that change would directly affect the management. Repeated extended ophthalmoscopy at each visit without change in signs, symptoms or condition may be considered not medically necessary.
Documentation Requirements: Extended ophthalmoscopy includes a detailed retinal drawing, (disc, macula or periphery) accompanied by an interpretation and plan. The drawing should be anatomically specific to the patient and clearly labeled, and be of sufficient size, usually no less than 2.5 inches in diameter. The extensive scaled drawing should accurately represent normal, abnormal and common findings such as lattice degeneration, hypertensive vascular changes, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachments, holes, tears, or tumors. Where extended ophthalmoscopy is used in defining optic nerve changes, ancillary drawings of cup to disc data elements (size, depth, rim, vessels, coloration) are required to fulfill obligations for documentation.
A standard approach to documenting retinal disease is to use a color-coded scheme; however, such color coding is not a requirement. Where color coding is not used, a description of the anatomy and pathology of the fundus and periphery is required. There is more than one professionally accepted color scheme. An example of one such color scheme includes the color red for hemorrhage, flat retina and retinal hole; blue for detached retina, retinal veins and outline of retinal tear; green for vitreous pathology; brown for choroidal findings; black for changes to the retinal pigment epithelium and blood vessels; yellow for retinal exudates; and black outline filled with black lattice pattern for lattice degeneration of attached retina.
CPT Codes / HCPCS Codes / ICD-9 Codes
CPT codes covered if selection criteria are met:
ICD-9 codes covered if selection criteria are met:
Malignant neoplasm of retina
Malignant neoplasm of choroid
Benign neoplasm of choroid [evaluation of choroidal nevus for malignant transformation]
250.50 - 250.51
Diabetes with ophthalmic manifestations, type I [juvenile type], type II or unspecified type, not stated as controlled
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National Government Services (NGS). Posterior segment imaging (extended ophthalmoscopy and fundus photography). Medicare Local Coverage Determination (LCD) No. L25466. Syracuse, NY: NGC; December 2007.
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Copyright Aetna Inc. All rights reserved. Clinical Policy Bulletins are developed by Aetna to assist in administering plan benefits and constitute neither offers of coverage nor medical advice. This Clinical Policy Bulletin contains only a partial, general description of plan or program benefits and does not constitute a contract. Aetna does not provide health care services and, therefore, cannot guarantee any results or outcomes. Participating providers are independent contractors in private practice and are neither employees nor agents of Aetna or its affiliates. Treating providers are solely responsible for medical advice and treatment of members. This Clinical Policy Bulletin may be updated and therefore is subject to change.