Abstract / Description of output

The Optometry Pilot Study was motivated by three factors: (1) the need to build back better after the pandemic, e.g. by addressing the backlog of referrals to secondary care, (2) the growing pressure on eye-care services because of the aging population and developments in treatment and (3) advances in the AI-powered systems aiding the diagnostic interpretation of images of patients’ eyes. As background, we present a summary of these pressures and trends, and describe the extension of optometrists’ healthcare roles in Scotland since 2006. We focus on two technological drivers: the emergence of AI diagnostic-decision support and the sharing of high-quality retinal images. The study was conducted in conjunction with the SCONe project – the Scottish Collaborative Optometry-Ophthalmology Network e-research – which is establishing a retinal imaging research resource for Scotland. Our study, conducted in 2021, interviewed 18 optometrists and 5 ophthalmologists to discover their experiences and expectations surrounding the use of ocular images for patient care. Our analysis of these interviews is presented. Those interviewed prioritised patient care, had a widespread willingness to adopt new methods and technologies, but identified several concerns and constraints that need to be addressed. We summarise these issues and identify their common factors. We note the limitations of the study and propose further investigations to mitigate these limitations. We conclude by proposing actions to help SCONe and ocular healthcare in Scotland meet their goals.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages61
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2021

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