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Purpose: To investigate current diagnostic equipment availability and usage for glaucoma casefinding within community optometric practice, and to explore optometrists’ attitudes towards an enhanced scope of clinical practice. Methods: An anonymous survey was developed, validated, and distributed to all optometrists in Ireland. Results: 199 optometrists (27% of registrants) responded to the survey. 87% had access to the traditional triad of tests necessary to conduct adequate glaucoma case finding. Standard automated perimetry was the most commonly absent (13%) of the three essential screening tests. 64% of respondents indicated that monocular direct ophthalmoscopy was their first choice technique for fundus examination. 47% of respondents had access to contact applanation tonometry, though just 14% used it as first choice during routine eye examinations. Among the 73 participants with access to both contact and non-contact tonometry (NCT), 80.8%, used NCT preferentially. The significant majority (98%) indicated an interest in enhanced glaucoma services with 57% agreeing that postgraduate training was an essential prerequisite to any increase in scope of practice. Conclusion: Irish optometrists are well equipped with the traditional tests used in glaucoma detection. However, implementation of enhanced referral schemes or glaucoma monitoring or management services would require equipment upgrades and associated training in at least half of the surveyed practices. There is strong interest in furthering optometric professional development and expanding the traditional role boundaries of optometrists, incorporating further education as an essential prerequisite to an enhanced scope of practice.
Barrett, C. & Loughman J. (2018) Expanding the Traditional Role of Optometry: Current Practice Patterns and Attitudes to Enhanced Glaucoma Services in Ireland J Optom. (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.optom.2018.02.004