Kiwis with Eye Disease to Benefit from New Diagnostic Tool

23 August 2012, 11:34AM

Thirteen of New Zealand's leading eye surgeons have written a diagnostic manual to help General Practitioners (GPs) recognise and treat their patient's eye problems.

The Auckland Eye Manual is a comprehensive ophthalmic diagnostic tool which will act as a reference guide and update across all sub-speciality areas of eye disease, according to one of its authors Dr Sue Ormonde.

Dr Ormonde says The Auckland Eye Manual was created in response to GPs' request for more information to help them in clinical practice.

"Most GPs see eye issues relatively infrequently compared with common complaints like heart, lung, and skin conditions. In addition they don't have the specialized equipment available to ophthalmologists to examine the eye so diagnosis is more difficult for them, particularly if the condition is uncommon," says Dr Ormonde.

"When we launched the manual at this year's GP educational conference (GPCME) we were surprised by how delighted the doctors were to find such a resource was available. Many of them wanted a copy immediately and we simply didn't have enough on hand, " she says. "Since then Auckland Eye staff have been working hard to supply the many other interested GPs with copies of the Manual".

The University of Auckland has also recognised its value as an educational tool and The Auckland Eye Manual will become a learning resource for all fifth year medical students, she says.

Dr Ormonde says the manual explains the appropriate methods for taking an ophthalmic history and for identifying important symptoms, and signs when conducting an ophthalmic examination.

"It also includes ten flowcharts covering the most common ophthalmic signs and symptoms and these act as a guide to determining which diseases may be involved," she says.

Part two of the manual is made up of 14 chapters dedicated to the most common eye diseases.

These chapters include a general description of each eye disease with accompanying colour photos, their signs and symptoms, immediate and longer-term management and referral guidelines. There is commentary on specialist treatment and surgery so GPs can have a greater understanding of what happens to their patients following referral. There is a list of essential ophthalmic medications, a comprehensive glossary and a referral guide providing information about the Auckland Eye specialists

The 364 page textbook was three years in development and drew on the combined expertise of all 13 Auckland Eye doctors for text, photographs and expertise.