The Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) has published guidance for professionals about caring for people with suspected glaucoma, referrals and safe discharge.
For more than two years optometry and ophthalmology representatives in Scotland have worked on advice that will help coordinate the care of people who are being examined for glaucoma in primary and secondary care.
A defined and standardised approach to the examination of someone who could have glaucoma is recommended. The guidelines also provide advice on equipment and procedures.
Importantly, it also helps optometrists decide which patients to retain and monitor in the community, who to refer to the Hospital Eye Service (HES), and what information should be included in the referral.
For ophthalmologists, there is guidance about who may be considered for discharge from the HES, back to their community optometrist, or for patients on treatment, to a named or listed optometrist. There is also guidance about what information should be provided by the ophthalmologist to the optometrist at the discharge point, and re-referral criteria.
Hal Rollason, member of the SIGN committee and College of Optometrists Council member and Fellow said: “I hope that the guideline is adopted without delay as it will help support a further shift in the balance of care, from secondary to primary. This has been an ongoing aim in Scotland for the last 10 years, due to capacity issues within the Hospital Eye Service and the new treatments now available for [eye] diseases that must be delivered very quickly after onset.
“This is excellent news for everyone who is at risk of glaucoma. It provides more convenience for patients who will be monitored by their community optometrist, possibly at the same time as their routine eye examination. It also reduces appointment costs to the NHS and increases efficiency, ensuring that patients who need to be seen in hospital are seen when needed.”