Artificial intelligence seems poised to aid decision making in many facets of eye care, glaucoma included. A potential step toward that is the more readily available technology known as clinical decision support (CDS) tools, which can be built into some EHR systems. A CDS system, for instance, can let a doctor know which medications available to treat a condition reflect consensus guidelines established by experts.

A recent survey of 105 clinicians who treat glaucoma—31 optometrists, 10 general ophthalmologists and 64 glaucoma specialists—gauged their interest in CDS and the clinical decisions they feel would benefit from the technology. Of the 105 respondents, 93 (88.6%) were either ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ interested in using CDS for glaucoma.

Five glaucoma clinical decisions were presented, and clinicians were asked the level of importance of six CDS tool characteristics: automatic data entry, automatic provision of results, easy-to-use interface, integration into clinic workflow, integration with current EHR and minimal time required to use tool.

Having an easy-to-use interface of CDS tool design and those that only require minimal time to use was ‘very important’ to the 88.6% of those surveyed. More than 85% of clinicians felt having a CDS tool would help benefit the decision and all but one felt they would benefit the most from identifying the progression of glaucoma.


This study could help guide development of CDS tools for glaucoma, particularly if doctors themselves are part of the development, to ensure applicability and ease of use, the authors note. “If a CDS tool for glaucoma is developed with an interface that is difficult to use, our results suggest that glaucoma providers would be skeptical of using the tool from the outset,” they point out in their paper on the study.

Stagg B, Stein JD, Medeiros FA, Cummins M, Kawamoto K, Hess R. Interests and needs of eye care providers in clinical decision support for glaucoma. BMJ Open Ophthalmol. 2021;6(1):e000639. Published 2021 Jan 15. doi:10.1136/bmjophth-2020-000639