OBA’s proposed changes unlikely to alter glaucoma detection rate: Glaucoma Australia

Glaucoma is known as a ‘difficult-to-diagnose’ disease, with up to 70% of neurons being lost before an individual notices vision loss thselves – hence the term ‘the sneak thief of sight’ Glaucoma Australia said.A high number of patients rain likely to be missed; an Australian study indicated up to 59% of subjects whose glaucoma was previously undiagnosed had visited an eye-care provider in the previous year. 
 The public needs to be seen by eye health professionals who can diagnose glaucoma by: undertaking a thorough history, followed by a comprehensive examination and only finally tests and investigations to confirm and document a diagnosis. Once diagnosed, a treatment regime and managent plan, based on an assessment of likely progression, risk of visual disability and many other medical and social factors is required, followed by rigorous follow-up to ensure treatment strategies are safe, tolerable and effective.Glaucoma Australia contends it is the ophthalmologist who is able to recommend and initiate all types of glaucoma treatment, whereas the proposed OBA changes to the guidelines recommend optometrists be able to initiate eye drop therapy, only. This is somewhat limiting for the patient, who usually wants to know the risks and benefits of all therapeutic options (drops, laser or even incisional surgery), as they are unlikely to be covered meaningfully by an optometrist who can only prescribe one type of therapy, the Glaucoma Australia submission to the OBA said.

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