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Close collaboration between eye care professionals improves diagnosis of the blinding eye disease glaucoma and reduces unnecessary and costly referrals to ophthalmologists, a UNSW-led study shows.

The new model of care, trialled by the Centre of Eye Health at UNSW, involved optometrists referring patients with suspected glaucoma to the centre where specially trained optometrists carried out advanced testing and recommended a management program in collaboration with consultant ophthalmologists.

These test results and recommendations were then provided to the referring optometrists, who continued to monitor the patients themsleves, referred them back to the centre for repeated testing, or referred them to medically trained ophthalmologists.

"Our collaborative scheme not only ensured timely review for patients, but also considerably improved diagnostic accuracy and alleviated time and financial constraints on the health care system," says lead author of the study, Dr Barbara Zangerl, of the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science.

For full media release please read here.