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Catherine M. Birt, Sana Muhsen, Tenley N. Bower, Olga Overbury, Oscar Kasner; Canadian Ophthalmologists’ Opinions Concerning Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Glaucoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):5011.
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Our goal was to investigate the opinion and practice pattern of Canadian ophthalmologists regarding the use of and recommendations for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for their glaucoma patients.
The study was a prospective, cross-sectional survey of practicing ophthalmologists in Canada. Institutional review board approval was obtained from the Research Ethics Board of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The survey was sent to all ophthalmologists in Canada available electronically through the email lists of four ophthalmology associations.
A total of 241 ophthalmologists representing all provinces in Canada responded to the questionnaire. Twenty two percent felt that CAM does have a role in glaucoma therapy with specialists being more likely believe there is a role (p < 0.05). Of the total respondents, 26% ask their patients if they use CAM with those in practice less than 20 years more likely to encourage use (p < 0.05). Of the respondents, 9% recommend CAM and if an ophthalmologist was in practice less than 20 years he/she was significantly more likely to recommend CAM (p < 0.01). Respondents (62%) in general do not discourage CAM with younger ophthalmologists (< 50 years old, p < 0.02) and ophthalmologists in practice less than 20 years (p < 0.05) being less likely to discourage CAM use. Respondents (41%) believe that CAM rarely ever affects compliance with ophthalmologists from an urban practice (p < 0.01) and academic practice (p < 0.05) more likely to deny effect on compliance. Respondents believe that CAM sometimes (46%) results in patient morbidity with ophthalmologists being in practice less than 20 years believing that morbidity is less likely (p < 0.05).
Ophthalmologists treating glaucoma need to make themselves aware of the use of CAM by their patients. A substantial minority of respondents believe that CAM has a role in glaucoma therapy, recommend its use and ask their patients if they use CAM. Younger doctors are more likely to encourage alternatives; those in practice less than 20 years are more likely to ask about alternative medicine use, recommend its use, and believe that morbidity usually doesn’t result from the use of alternative treatments.
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