Clinical practice guidelines (CPG) are regarded by many as critical communications providing guidance within specific medical fields. Over a decade ago, the first microinvasive glaucoma surgical (MIGS) procedures were introduced. Since then, a number of these novel intraocular pressure controlling surgical options have been approved worldwide. Governing bodies and health care administration often utilize CPGs when considering funding for newer technologies. This highlights the importance of well-written, accurate, and up-to-date CPGs in the rapidly evolving field of MIGS. If CPGs are unable to fill this role, their use in treatment decision-making is doing a disservice to patients, who will be denied currently available and potentially superior care. To determine the overall value of a CPG, the methodological quality with which it was developed, in addition to the current relevance and appropriateness of its recommendations, should be evaluated. The objective of the present study was to assess the methodological quality of currently available international glaucoma CPGs, as well as their coverage of MIGS as a surrogate marker of relevance and appropriateness to policy-makers and ophthalmologists alike.
To identify potentially relevant CPGs, a predefined search strategy was used to search the following databases: Medline, EMBASE, BIOSIS, and Web of Science. All CPGs related to adult glaucoma and published in English were included. CPG methodological quality was assessed by 3 individuals using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II (AGREE II) tool. Studies were then assessed for coverage of MIGS devices and procedures.
Search strategy and subsequent screening identified 11 CPGs for analysis. Eight were of high quality according to the AGREE II criteria. Three included basic information on MIGS, but none provided specific recommendations regarding their indications or which patient populations would benefit most.
Many international glaucoma CPGs are of high methodological quality. However, coverage of MIGS is sparse, nonspecific and in many instances, absent. This causes CPGs to be a suboptimal source in guiding physicians and health policy-makers in areas characterized by novel and/or rapidly evolving technologies. Mechanisms to incorporate updated evidence in CPGs would have to be considered before they can be used as a source of contemporary clinical decision-making.
*Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry
†Department of Ophthalmology
‡Department of Pathology, Schulich School of Medicine, ON, Canada
§Department of Science, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT
∥University of Queensland School of Medicine, Brisbane, Queensland
J.J.A. and C.M.L.H.: conceived of the research question. J.J.A.: developed the methods and assisted E.M., T.L., B.I., and J.D. in data collection. Data were analyzed and manuscript drafted by E.M.
Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Reprints: James J. Armstrong, HBSc, MD, PhD, St Joseph’s Health Care London, St Joseph’s Hospital Department of Ophthalmology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, 268 Grosvenor Street, Zone B, Level 2, Room B2-067 London, ON, Canada, N6A 4V2 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received July 8, 2017
Accepted October 21, 2017