Community optometrists able to diagnose glaucoma accurately

August 22, 2007

Community optometrists trained in glaucoma can provide satisfactory decisions regarding diagnosis and initiation of treatment.

Community optometrists trained in glaucoma can provide satisfactory decisions regarding diagnosis and initiation of treatment, according to a report published online ahead of print by the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Augusto Azuara Blanco and colleagues from the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and the University of Aberdeen, UK compared the diagnostic abilities of accredited glaucoma optometrists (AGO) with that of routine hospital eyecare against a reference standard of expert opinion, i.e. consultant ophthalmologists with a special interest in glaucoma.

A total of 100 subjects were examined. People suspected of having glaucoma underwent full assessment both in the newly established, optometry led glaucoma management scheme and in a consultant led hospital eye service.

Agreement between the AGO and consultant ophthalmologists was significant at 89%. Agreement regarding the need for treatment was also substantial (88%) whilst the agreement between trainee ophthalmologist and consultant ophthalmologist was moderate (83%).

It was concluded that community optometrists trained in glaucoma are able to offer satisfactory diagnoses and initiation of treatment.