Physician Assistants in Ophthalmology: A National Survey

Benjamin Lee, Timothy C. McCall, Noël E. Smith, Mark A. D'Souza, Divya Srikumaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate the scope of practice and training of current physician assistants (PAs) in ophthalmology and gauge their interest in further training and involvement in ophthalmology. Design: Cross-sectional survey study. Methods: An anonymous survey on vision and ocular care in the PA profession was administered to PAs in ophthalmology within the American Academy of Physician Assistants member database. All survey questions were optional. Results: A total response rate of 47/94 (50.0%) was obtained. Respondents reported an average of 9.8 years (SD = 9.0) of experience as a PA in ophthalmology. Over half of the respondents (59.5%) did not have previous experience in vision and ocular health before becoming a PA. Most respondents (79.5%) reported that they are able to provide their primary clinical responsibilities for ophthalmic care independently. In addition to providing clinical ophthalmic care, many of the respondents have duties that involve consenting patients for ophthalmic surgery and procedures (62.5%) and assisting in ophthalmic surgery and minor procedures (65.0%). Only a minority of respondents independently perform procedures, such as intravitreal injections (23.1%) and minor lid procedures (38.5%). Most respondents reported interest in additional training in providing vision and ocular care (69.0%), in continuing their career as a PA in ophthalmology (87.5%), and in joining a specialty organization for PAs in ophthalmology (88.1%). Conclusions: The PAs participating in this survey provide a range of clinical and some procedural ophthalmic care. The development of formal PA postgraduate training programs in ophthalmology may expand the pool of PAs qualified to practice ophthalmology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
Volume217
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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