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    Big Data transforming glaucoma care, research


    Continuous monitoring is also how ophthalmologists and ophthalmologic practices will be guided and assessed. IRIS, the data registry established by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), has already recorded more than 20 million patient visits, representing more than 7 million unique patients since the official launch in 2014.

    “We anticipate the numbers are going to rise substantially to over 100 million patient visits within the next couple of years,” said AAO’s CEO David Park II, MD. “That is big data. And in today’s world, data is the key currency to demonstrate patient outcomes, navigate payer systems, ease maintenance of certification and license renewal, benchmark and improve your performance, and conduct clinical research.”

    Individual practitioners and practices can already use IRIS to benchmark their own performance and guide improvements. Experience in cardiology and other specialties have shown that registries are rich resources for clinical research.

    “IRIS is a game changer for innovation,” Dr. Park said. “We are trying to reduce undesirable variation in practice and improve the outcomes of care.”

    Once glaucoma has been identified, IOP monitoring is the next step. The current standard of care, measuring IOP at office visits, is far from ideal.

    “What if the real IOP is lower and we are measuring peaks of pressure?” Dr. Weinreb asked. “Or what if we are measuring troughs and the actual pressure is much higher? Continuous IOP monitoring would give us better information for making clinical decisions.”

    Two approaches to continuous IOP monitoring are being developed, temporary external sensors and permanent implantable sensors.


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