A study on error rates suggests optometrists could be used to help reduce ophthalmologists workload in monitoring neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nvAMD) because of their cautious approach.
A trial in the United Kingdom found optometrists were less likely to have false-negative errors, and more likely to have false-positive errors than ophthalmologists when classifying retinal lesions for re-treatment decisions regarding quiescent neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nvAMD).
The Effectiveness of Community versus HES (ECHoES) trial found that optometrists were similar to ophthalmologists in overall proportion of correctly classified lesions but were more cautious.
The findings suggest optometrists could potentially help reduce ophthalmologists’ workload caring for these patients who need regular monitoring, including visual acuity checks, clinical examination, and optical coherence tomograms to determine any need to restart treatment.
The findings suggest optometrists could potentially help reduce ophthalmologists’ workload caring for these patients who need regular monitoring
The researchers noted that more cautious decision-making by optometrists reduced the risk they would classify a reactivated lesion as quiescent or suspicious and reflected their service contract requiring them to refer any suspected pathology. However, their caution reduces the potential that community monitoring could lower hospital-based ophthalmologists’ workload and be cost-effective.
The virtual non-inferiority trial was published in July in BMJ Open.