What’s New in Glaucoma Medication and Diagnostics

Dr. Patricia Fulmer, OD joined Dr. Daniel Epshtein, OD at Vision Expo East 2019 to talk about the newest trends in medical optometry and the growth of glaucoma medication and diagnostics.

The evolving world of glaucoma management

The eyecare industry as a whole and the methods of care available are constantly growing, and Dr. Fulmer is particularly excited about the development of new pharmaceuticals and the fresh treatments becoming available to her patients. Different classes and utilization methods for glaucoma medication, in particular, provide better care than ever before!

Having a clear understanding of glaucoma management can mean drastically improved outcomes for your patients! Check out our guide to the basics of glaucoma management for the general practitioner.

Dr. Epshtein highlights his excitement for two new rho kinase inhibitors, Rhopressa, and Roclatan. Having q.d. drugs available to prescribe, as well as prescriptions that only require a single use per day, has helped to increase patient compliance. “Ideally, we want to have our patients well controlled on one drop, once per day.”

Normalizing new technology

One challenge being faced by new products coming to market is the expansion of existing healthcare coverage options to include these new treatments. Thankfully, another challenge typically faced by new technologies is being remedied: while older practice owners may be more resistant to adopting new techniques and processes, new grads who are beginning their career are able to adapt to these powerful, new tools quickly. And the pool of tools that are becoming available is growing rapidly as well.

Shiny new tools can be incredibly helpful, but don’t let them distract too much. Keep your bread and butter skills fresh and remember the Top 5 Clinical Skills and Techniques for new grad ODs.

Dr. Epshtein is looking forward to the expanding world of OCTA (or OCT Angiography). “I’ve been using it quite a bit in my practice, and I use for everything from optic nerve disease to glaucoma to ischemic optic neuropathy … You learn what the technology is, you learn out to use it, and I think if we give it a few years, OCTA is going to be as popular as RFL scans and macular scans.”

Dr. Fulmer highlights that companies like Zeiss are building full suites of technologies that allow ODs to interpret results, track patients, and share that information with other doctors seamlessly, meaning new processes like OCTA can be shared cross-clinic with ease. While large data sets can be helpful for evaluation, having too much data runs the risk turning a simple visit with a patient into a much longer appointment, and the various technology suites accommodate this with effective and simple readouts.

Drs. Fulmer and Epshtein’s advice on new technology

  1. Speak to a colleague
  2. Sample technology at conferences! There are experts to talk to everywhere.
  3. Play with the tech, don’t be afraid, and just jump in.

There’s no shortage of exciting developments in the eyecare industry, and there’s no better time than today to begin experimenting and incorporating the best technology into your practice.

About Dyllan Thweatt

Dyllan Thweatt
Dyllan is a UC San Diego graduate and the Associate Editor for NewGradOptometry and CovalentCareers. In his time out of the office he is also a full-time Dungeon Master, pet dad, and an avid tea drinker.

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