Training in new imaging technologies required to reduce preventable vision loss
by: Deborah Smith
Increased use of state-of-the art eye-imaging technologies could improve healthcare for patients with age-related macular degeneration, but only if professionals receive advanced training on how to interpret the results.
Increased use of state-of-the art eye-imaging technologies could improve healthcare for patients with age-related macular degeneration, but only if professionals receive advanced training on how to interpret the results, a study by UNSW Sydney scientists has shown
Age-related macular degeneration leads to painless loss of central vision that affects people’s ability to see fine detail, drive, read and recognise faces.
It is a rising cause of blindness worldwide, but early and accurate diagnosis and management can help prevent vision loss.
To determine the impact of new imaging technologies on its diagnosis, researchers at the Centre for Eye Health at UNSW tested 81 practicing Australian optometrists using 20 computer-based case studies.
The case simulations were based on patients seen previously at the centre, half of whom had age-related macular degeneration.
The optometrists were given each patient’s case history, preliminary test results and a colour image of the interior of the eye, known as fundus photography.
Based on this information, they provided their diagnosis and management plan online.
They could then request one additional type of image, and reassess their diagnosis. And in the third stage of the experiment, they could alter their opinion after being given all of the images for each patient.
“The good news is that we found that the optometrists accurately screened for the presence or absence of macular disease in 94 per cent of cases,” says study lead author and Centre optometrist Dr Angelica Ly.
“However, their ability to identify the specific condition was more limited. Age-related macular degeneration was accurately diagnosed in 61 per cent of cases, and this only improved by 5 per cent using new imaging technologies,” she says….
Source: News Room