Pediatric Ophthalmology Scope of Practice: Results of an AAPOS Survey
Gregg T. Lueder, MD; Marlo Galli
Washington University School of Medicine
Introduction: Pediatric ophthalmology practices vary widely in terms of the types of medical conditions and ages of patients cared for. This study was designed to study these practice patterns.
Methods: A survey was sent to AAPOS members through an E-blast. The responses to the survey were collated and analyzed.
Results: The survey was sent to 1408 international and US AAPOS members. Ninety members (6.4%) responded. 89% of respondents confine their practices to pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus. For conditions other than strabismus, 59% restrict their practice to patients less than 21 years of age. The percentages of respondents who provide primary surgical and medical treatment of the following conditions are: Ptosis and anterior orbital lesions – 68%; Cataract – 49%; Uveitis – 38%; Retinopathy of prematurity – 25%; Glaucoma – 19%; Retinoblastoma – 7%.
Discussion: Many AAPOS members provide primary medical and surgical care for patients with a wide variety of conditions. Awareness of this variety of practice might prove beneficial in enticing residents to consider careers in pediatric ophthalmology.
Conclusion: Pediatric ophthalmologists are an important part of the physician workforce, providing care for patients with many complex ocular disorders. In addition to treatment of the underlying diseases, pediatric ophthalmologists are uniquely qualified to also monitor amblyopia and refractive problems, which can have a beneficial impact on visual outcomes.
References: Simon JW, Bradfield YS, Smith J, Ahn E, France TD. Recruitment and manpower in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus. J AAPOS 2007;11:336-40.
Hasan SJ, Castanes MS, Coats DK. A survey of ophthalmology residents’ attitudes toward pediatric ophthalmology. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus 2009;46:25-29.