Background/objectives: Patients with ophthalmic emergencies often present to emergency rooms. Emergency medicine (EM) physicians should feel comfortable encountering these conditions. We assessed EM physicians’ comfort working up, diagnosing, and managing ophthalmic emergencies. Subjects/methods: 329 EM physicians participated in this cross-sectional multicentre survey. Questions inquired about the amount, type, and self-perceived adequacy of ophthalmic training. Likert scales were used to assess confidence and comfort working up, diagnosing, and managing ophthalmic emergencies. Results: Participants recall receiving a median of 5 and 10 h of ophthalmic training in medical school and residency, respectively. Few feel this prepared them for residency (16.5%) or practice (52.0%). Only 50.6% feel confident with their ophthalmic exam. Most (75.0%) feel confident in their ability to identify an ophthalmic emergency, but 58.8% feel well prepared to work them up. Responders feel more comfortable diagnosing acute retrobulbar hematoma (72.5%), retinal detachment (69.8%), and acute angle closure glaucoma (78.0%) than central retinal artery occlusion (28.9%) or giant cell arteritis (53.2%). Only 60.2% feel comfortable determining if canthotomy and cantholysis is necessary in the setting of acute retrobulbar hematoma, and 40.3% feel comfortable performing the procedure. There was a trend towards attending physicians and providers in urban and academic settings feeling more comfortable diagnosing and managing ophthalmic emergencies compared to trainees, non-urban, and non-academic physicians. Conclusions: Many participants do not feel comfortable using ophthalmic equipment, performing an eye exam, making vision or potentially life-saving diagnoses, or performing vision-saving procedures, suggesting the need to increase ophthalmic training in EM curricula.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems