Australian study finds practices with OCT more likely to make glaucoma referrals

New data has been published on the number of patients referred to secondary care for suspected glaucoma from 331 optometry practices

An optometrist wearing a white lab coat and face mask uses a joy stick to adjust a magnified view of a patient’s eye. The patient sits across from the optometrist behind the white optical coherence tomography device
Getty/FG Trade

New research published in Journal of Glaucoma has outlined the number of patients referred to secondary care for glaucoma from 331 optometry practices in Australia.

The study examined electronic medical records for every patient between the ages of 18 and 99 between January 1 and July 31, 2019.

A total of 994,461 patient records were included in the study with around 1% of patients (10,475) referred for a glaucoma.

The researchers found that practices that routinely used optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans were 39% more likely to refer a patient for glaucoma than a practice without OCT.

A subset of referrals – where ophthalmologists provided feedback – was used to estimate a false positive rate.

Of the 318 patient records that included secondary care feedback, one in five patients (21%) was considered not to have glaucoma.

The study authors concluded: “The routine use of OCT in optometric practice may lead to more timely glaucoma detection and prevention of avoidable vision loss.”