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Effectiveness of UK optometric enhanced eye care services: a realist review of the literature

Baker, H., Ratnarajan, G., Harper, R. A. , Edgar, D. F & Lawrenson, J. (2016). Effectiveness of UK optometric enhanced eye care services: a realist review of the literature. Ophthalmic Physiological Ophthalmic, 36(5), pp. 545-557. doi: 10.1111/opo.12312


PURPOSE: UK demographic and legislative changes combined with increasing burdens on National Health Service manpower and budgets have led to extended roles for community optometrists providing locally-commissioned enhanced optometric services (EOS). This realist review's objectives were to develop programme theories that implicitly or explicitly explain quality outcomes for eye care provided by optometrists via EOS and to test these theories by investigating the effectiveness of services for cataract, glaucoma, and primary eye care.

METHODS: The review protocol was published on PROSPERO, and RAMESES publication standards were followed. Programme theories were formulated via scoping literature searches and expert consultation. The searching process involved all relevant electronic databases and grey literature, without restrictions on study design. Data synthesis focussed on questioning the integrity of each theory by considering supportive and refuting evidence from the source literature.

RESULTS: Good evidence exists for cataract, glaucoma and primary eye care EOS that: with appropriate training, accredited optometrists manage patients commensurate with usual care standards; genuine partnerships can exist between community and hospital providers for cataract and glaucoma EOS; patient satisfaction with all three types of service is high; cost-effectiveness of services is unproven for cataract and primary eye care, while glaucoma EOS cost-effectiveness depends on service type; contextual factors may influence service success.

CONCLUSIONS: The EOS reviewed are clinically effective and provide patient satisfaction but limited data is available on cost-effectiveness.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
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