Optometrists best placed to screen population

March 31, 2007

Although almost a third of patients referred by optometrists do not have glaucoma, optometrists are still best placed to screen the UK population for glaucoma, according to Dr Aye and colleagues from Northampton General Hospital, UK.

Although almost a third of patients referred by optometrists do not have glaucoma, optometrists are still best placed to screen the UK population for glaucoma, according to Dr Aye and colleagues from Northampton General Hospital, UK.

A study was conducted to review the glaucoma data provided by optometrists on referral forms. A total of 78 referrals were received over a five-month period. The most common reasons for referral were elevated IOP (59%), optic disc abnormalities (45%), visual field defects (14%) and other abnormalities (12%).

A total of 68% of forms were incomplete, missing vital data. Of the IOP measurements, 38% were within 2 mmHg of IOP obtained with Goldmann tonometry and 34% of pneumatonometry readings differed by more than 5 mmHg with that obtained by applanation tonometry. Twenty-seven percent of patients were found not to have glaucoma and were discharged, while 26% of patients were started on treatment.

According to the investigators, despite varying IOP measurements, optometrists are still best placed to screen the UK population for glaucoma.