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Glaucoma laser and surgical procedure rates in Australia
  1. Nathan M Kerr,
  2. Himeesh K Kumar,
  3. Jonathan G Crowston,
  4. Mark J Walland
  1. Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nathan M Kerr, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, 32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia; nathan.kerr{at}


Aim To determine trends in the number of glaucoma laser and surgical procedures performed in Australia between 1994 and 2014.

Methods Medicare claims were analysed to determine the number of glaucoma-related procedures reimbursed in Australia between 1994 and 2014. Glaucoma procedures were identified by Medicare Benefits Schedule item number and analysed by age range, gender, state, month and year.

Results Laser trabeculoplasty rates declined 60% between 1994 and 2003 before increasing a dramatic 353% between 2003 and 2014. Laser iridotomies increased 281% over the study period while cyclodestructive procedures increased 207%. The number of primary filtering operations for glaucoma fell 68% from a peak in 1996 to a low in 2006 and then remained stable. However, the number of filtering operations in eyes where a previous filtering operation had been performed increased 27%. There was a marked increase in glaucoma drainage device insertion, increasing 234% over the study period.

Conclusions There has been a substantial increase in laser trabeculoplasty procedures in Australia, following a decline between 1994 and 2003. Primary filtering operations for glaucoma have declined in number while glaucoma drainage devices are playing an increasingly prominent role in the surgical management of glaucoma.

  • Glaucoma
  • Treatment Surgery
  • Treatment Lasers

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  • Contributors NMK: main author; HKK: statistics; JGC and MJW: critical revision.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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