Background/aims: To describe the design, activity, and quality of the referral refinement phase of a novel glaucoma shared-care scheme.
Methods: Eight Optometrists with a Specialist Interest in glaucoma (OSI) were trained to perform a community-based comprehensive glaucoma evaluation of low-risk glaucoma hospital referrals (only one/none of the following factors noted for either eye: abnormal optic disc, abnormal visual field, abnormal intraocular pressure (IOP; 22-28 mmHg or IOP asymmetry)) using equipment standardized to that of the hospital glaucoma service.
Results: One hundred and thirty-eight (27%) of a total of 512 glaucoma-related referrals were deemed 'low risk'. Their choice of OSI discharged 40 (35%). The consultant agreed (virtually) with the decision to discharge with 28 (70%) and disagreed with 12 (30%). Comparing findings between OSI and consultant for 99 referred patients, sensitivity, specificity, and negative predictive values for a suspicious optic disc were 78, 61, and 79%, respectively. For an IOP of >21 mmHg, they were 74, 85, and 90%, respectively. For an occludable anterior chamber angle (Van Herick's versus gonioscopy), they were 69, 88, and 94%, respectively.
Conclusion: This referral refinement process can reduce numbers of false-positive referrals attending the hospital glaucoma service while retaining a relatively high level of examination quality.