Post date: 
Tuesday, 30 September 2014

GPs are not confident in diagnosing major eye conditions, a survey has revealed.

Just over a third of GPs were confident in diagnosing age-related macular degeneration. Almost half were sure they could recognise the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy (48.8 per cent), glaucoma (51.2 per cent), and refractive error (49.3 per cent).

The survey was undertaken by the UK Vision Strategy in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). It also follows last year's move by the RCGP to make eye health, with a focus on ageing and sight loss, a clinical priority.

The poll also highlighted a lack of GP training in supporting blind and visually impaired patients. However the majority of those polled (81.1 per cent) were interested in receiving this training.

On the downside, less that half of those polled said their surgery provided information such as appointments or information on the practice itself in an accessible format.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, said more needed to done in this area. "Since eye health became a clinical priority, we have developed initiatives to support GPs to reduce preventable sight loss in our older patients, improve referral to eye care services of patients with signs of correctable sight loss, and enable more patients with unpreventable sight loss to maintain their independence for longer.

Dr Waqaar Shah, RCGP Clinical Champion for Eye Health, said: "The RCGP and the UK Vision Strategy are working together to increase knowledge and confidence amongst GPs and their practice teams in spotting early signs of major eye diseases so patients can be treated or referred to specialists quickly. This helps to deliver significant improvements in preventing avoidable blindness and improving the quality of life for patients with sight loss.”

Further information

  • GPs or practice staff interested in gaining more information can join the RCGP network by emailing [email protected]