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International

Survey reveals 2018 eyecare trends

02/02/2018
Genetics and telemedicine are likely to play increasingly significant roles in eyecare within five years, in the opinion of more than 200 US ophthalmologists who were surveyed recently.

The study, conducted by Wills Eye Hospital, quizzed ophthalmologists on the current state of the profession and also potential future trends and resulted in four main takeaways.

The majority of the survey respondents agreed that telemedicine would have a larger role within the next several years. Despite only 3.2% of the respondents reporting very frequent use of telemedicine in their practice currently, 61.8% agreed it was bound to increase in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, 33.6% of ophthalmologists surveyed believed genetics in clinical practice would be the biggest change to eyecare in the next five years.


"The survey data confirmed many of the assumptions that ophthalmologists may already have based on their experience, and it exposed the top-of-mind trends in our field,"
Dr Julia Haller, ophthalmologist-in-chief Wills Eye Hospital

Contrastingly, only a few (2.9%) cited the role of artificial intelligence or machine learning as a major change to eyecare in the immediate future.

“The survey data confirmed many of the assumptions that ophthalmologists may already have based on their experience, and it exposed the top-of-mind trends in our field,” Wills ophthalmologist-in-chief Dr Julia Haller said.

“We look forward to seeing how these trends play out in the coming year.”

Another major outcome was the role reputation played in referring patients. More than half of the survey respondents (53.9%) identified clinical specialty expertise as the most important factor in where they refer patients, with the individual reputation of specialists carrying more weight than overall eyecare institutional reputation.

The final clear trend was that most patients do not seek preventative eyecare treatment and only visit a specialist when they have a specific problem.

Just 10% of respondents said their patients were very proactive in seeking preventative care for their eye health and only 7.2% reported having patients who presented without an existing, serious eye concern.

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