Quantitative slit lamp observations in contact lens practice

  • Woods R
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Aftercare of the contact lens wearing patients is very difficult without an adequate means of evaluating change. Descriptive terms, as used by most practitioners, to record slit-lamp observations allow flexibility for the variety of clinical presentations. Analysis of clinical observations, the evaluation of changes in ocular structure or condition after contact lens wear, is difficult with only qualitative terms. Semantic (language dependent) difficulties inherent in, often highly individualistic and stylistic, qualitative patient records, may result in poor interpretation of clinical findings at aftercare. Combined with the lack of systematic recording of observations, inappropriate clinical decision making may result. Quantitative (numerical) records are important for experimental and clinical analysis, to avoid these problems. Routine use of a grading system for clinical data collective allows for greater reliability (same result for the same observation), is systematic (logical ordering of observations), semantically independent (not subject to the same degree of interpretation), and analytical (allow quantitative assessment of change at subsequent examination). A recording system is proposed which, when used in conjunction with clinical diagrams, lends itself to simplicity, yet high information content, to enhance and aid clinical decision processes. © 1989.

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