More optometrists diagnosing glaucoma

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When it comes to diagnosing glaucoma, the role of the optometrist is growing, however, ophthalmologists overwhelmingly continue to be the providers initiating glaucoma treatment, according to a study.

Between 2007 to 2018, 303,440 patients received initial glaucoma care by ophthalmologists and 98,120 by optometrists (N = 401,560). Over the study period, population rates of suspected glaucoma increased for ophthalmologists and optometrists.

After 2011, there was an annual increase in the rate of therapy initiation among optometrists that was not seen in ophthalmologists. By 2018, ophthalmologists cared for 88% of patients initiating therapy and 59% of those first diagnosed with suspected glaucoma. In 2018, therapy initiations per provider were lower among optometrists than among ophthalmologists.

Older patients who had higher ocular or systemic comorbidity or lived in urban settings were more likely to be treated by an ophthalmologist than an optometrist.


Quinn MP, Johnson D, Whitehead M, et al. Distribution and predictors of initial glaucoma care among ophthalmologists and optometrists: A population-based study. J Glaucoma. 2021; DOI: 10.1097/IJG.0000000000001792. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33449589.

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