November 2018


ASCRS Clinical Survey drives education, tracks trends

by Liz Hillman EyeWorld Senior Staff Writer

“I think the ASCRS Clinical Survey is one of the most influential surveys I use to shape my thoughts and
beliefs and to learn what my colleagues are thinking.”
—Vance Thompson, MD


Sixth annual ASCRS Clinical Survey helps reveal where learning is needed, educational successes, and practice patterns

ASCRS completed its sixth annual Clinical Survey earlier this year and will be releasing key findings to readers in the ASCRS Clinical Survey supplement, which will accompany the December issue of EyeWorld.
Feedback from the more than 1,000 respondents to the survey helps shape education for the ASCRS•ASOA Annual Meeting, other ASCRS-sponsored meetings, clinical webinars, online learning, and EyeWorld CME activities.
“This year there were a lot more questions that will shape education on ocular surface disease because of new drugs and testing modalities that are available,” said Rosa Braga- Mele, MD, chair, ASCRS Education Committee. “From the answers of the survey, a lot of symposia, webinars, and online learning will be created, and it will help members become better advocates for their dry eye patients; allow members to choose which tests they think are necessary in doing dry eye or ocular surface disease testing; increase understanding that OSD is an inflammatory disorder and should be treated in that way; and understanding the impact OSD has on cataract surgery outcomes.
“Another part that was new in this survey that we’ll bring to light for a lot of our members is crosslinking, in particular how crosslinking is being used to help keratoconus and ectasia patients. I think that was a good learning pearl from the members who took this survey,” she added.
The ASCRS Education Committee and Clinical Committees that develop survey questions each year try to think outside the box, not only in the realm of cataract, refractive, and glaucoma, Dr. Braga-Mele said, but also in retina.
“How we approach and work with our retina colleagues, with patients with respect to diabetes and macular degeneration, timing around these procedures, and whether cataract/refractive procedures should be undertaken in these patients is addressed in the survey,” she said.
The survey also helps evaluate the impact of ASCRS education efforts. Dr. Braga-Mele said the surveys have shown a trend toward more physicians understanding the need for rotational stability for optimal performance of toric IOLs. She also said a question about putting a single-piece IOL in the sulcus was dropped because the number of members who reported doing this now is negligible.
“We do see trends that change education, that change our survey outcomes, that then show us we’re making a difference, and that difference ultimately translates to better patient care,” Dr. Braga-Mele said.
“I think the ASCRS Clinical Survey is one of the most influential surveys that I use to shape my thoughts and beliefs and to learn what my colleagues are thinking,” said Vance Thompson, MD, member, ASCRS Refractive Surgery Clinical Committee. “This information helps shape our profession and helps our treatment decisions for the patients of the world.”
In addition to helping report member practice patterns and opinions, the survey can influence areas of research.
“We may get answers that make us further inquire and further clinical research around certain areas to see what is actually better,” Dr. Braga-Mele said.
“[The survey] is a significant measure of the effectiveness of ASCRS educational programs. Moreover, when there are corroborating, evidence-based studies that are at odds with what the majority of survey respondents are doing, it provides direction as to the areas that need more attention, resources, and education,” said Kent Stiverson, MD, member, ASCRS Cataract Clinical Committee. “Finally, ASCRS members are interested in what their colleagues are doing. Indeed, this was one of the reasons the organization was founded. The survey is a concise and comprehensive summary of what members are currently doing as well as their take on controversies and topics of interest.”
Dr. Braga-Mele encouraged members to take the survey, which is made available onsite at the ASCRS•ASOA Annual Meeting and online each year.
“The survey shows us the educational content that is needed or wanted by our members. There is a lot of value of the survey to ASCRS members, so I urge them to continue participating in the survey because it helps shape all of ASCRS education,” she said, adding that if members do not participate, the big picture—what members want to learn or where member education is needed—may be missed.
Kendall Donaldson, MD, member, ASCRS Cataract Clinical Committee, highlighted what she gains from the survey and also encouraged member participation.
“I find it extremely helpful to understand practice trends and current opinions. I like the information from outside the U.S. as they have experience with additional technology (and in particular IOLs) that may predict upcoming trends in the U.S.,” she said. “I would encourage everyone to participate because [the survey] helps shape our practice patterns and is very informative to our field as a whole. If we each practice in a vacuum, it causes us to repeat the mistakes of others and not be able to anticipate the future of our field.”

Contact information


Tracking trends

• There has been an upward trend in the number of female ophthalmologists over the last few years.
• Just under 55% of practices in 2013 reported having an employed optometrist; 72% reported employing optometrists in 2018.
• Advanced methods of tracking cataract surgery outcomes with digital image registration and wavefront intraoperative aberrometry increased two-fold since 2013.
• Patients receiving femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery has remained stagnant since 2016, at 8%.

ASCRS Clinical Survey drives education, tracks trends ASCRS Clinical Survey drives education, tracks trends
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