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Wednesday / July 17.
HomeminewsPeer Reviewed Journal Recognises Specsavers Glaucoma Data

Peer Reviewed Journal Recognises Specsavers Glaucoma Data

After many years of scrutiny and refinement, a peer reviewed article featuring Specsavers’ glaucoma data has been published in the Journal of Glaucoma, a renowned scientific journal for glaucoma research.

The data proves that optometrists employing optical coherence tomography (OCT), as a routine clinical tool, have a higher chance of referring patients for specialist glaucoma management than those without OCT.

he hopes that by sharing the data through (a)… scientific journal, many practitioners will follow Specsavers’ lead and employ the same glaucoma detection techniques

Specsavers Clinical Services Director Dr Ben Ashby said the published findings have been known and shared by Specsavers ever since the company made the decision to roll out OCTs into each of its practices in 2016, but this is the first time they have been peer reviewed.

“We started with a pilot that had the specific objective of targeting the 50% of patients with undiagnosed glaucoma as reported in the Blue Mountains Eye Study and the National Eye Health Survey. This rate had remained relatively unchanged for the past three decades, primarily due to the nature of glaucoma with a lack of overt signs and symptoms in early stages, and with functional deficits often preceded by extensive structural damage before they manifest in a way that the patient can notice.

“When we started using OCT technology consistently, in conjunction with the RANZCO Referral Pathway for Glaucoma Management and the other assessments included in an eye test, we saw an enhanced detection of glaucoma and were able to refer patients at earlier stages than before. We’ve been utilising the technology in this way with every patient in Australia and New Zealand ever since,” said Dr Ashby.

In fact, according to the peer-reviewed article, which reviewed the deidentified records for every patient aged 18-99 years who attended an included Specsavers practice in Australia between January 1 and July 31, 2019, those practices that used OCT consistently in their practice referred 1.1% of their patients for glaucoma, compared to practices without OCT who referred 0.8% of patients.

Ophthalmologist feedback in the article found 41% were diagnosed with glaucoma, 38% were considered to be glaucoma suspects, and no sign of glaucoma was detected in 21%.

Advocating for Industry to Follow

Dr Ashby said he hopes that by sharing the data through such a well-regarded international scientific journal, many practitioners will follow Specsavers’ lead and employ the same glaucoma detection techniques, leading to earlier detection rates for patients everywhere.

“The peer-reviewed article showcases a proud moment in time, but a lot more has happened since then. Just this month we are thrilled to be able to announce that in our practices in Australia and New Zealand, who all utilise the methods outlined in the article alongside other processes and strategies we’ve implemented, we have now detected glaucoma in more than 200,000 patients since 2015. We are deeply honoured that so many people trust us to care for their eyes and we’ve been sharing our data and findings with as much of the industry as possible, advocating for the benefits of using OCT in this way.

The study was a global collaborative effort involving people from Specsavers, Topcon, CERA and Harvard Medical School.