Agreement among optometrists and ophthalmologists in estimating limbal anterior chamber depth using the van Herick method
Edgar, David F.
Nolan, Winifred P.
Lawrenson, John G.
Purpose: To evaluate the inter-observer agreement for measuring limbal anterior chamber depth (LACD) using the van Herick test in community optometrists, glaucoma specialist optometrists and ophthalmologists. Methods: The study was divided into two phases. In the first phase, a random sample of 100 UK community optometrists were given an opportunity to select and grade eight digital slit-lamp images of anterior chamber angles using the original van Herick 4 point grading scale. The images were included in a clinical decision making study using computerised virtual case vignettes. In the second phase, hospital-based glaucoma specialist optometrists and glaucoma sub-specialist ophthalmologists graded the LACD of the right eye using a 7-point % grading scale in 57 consecutively presenting patients with suspect glaucoma. Inter-observer agreement was assessed using linearly weighted kappa (κw). Results: Inter-observer agreement for community optometrists was moderate, with a mean κw for grading photographic images of 0.50 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.43-0.57). Overall, ninety-two percent of observations were within one grade of the actual grade, although grading of narrow angles was associated with a 13% false negative error rate (based on a ≤ grade 2 threshold). For Phase 2 of the study, pairwise comparisons between optometrists and ophthalmologists showed that agreement was moderate to substantial (mean κw = 0.54-0.65) with a false negative rate of 1.9% (based on a ≤ 25% threshold). Grading accuracy of specialist optometrists and ophthalmologists were equivalent. Conclusions: In summary, the present study found that community optometrists showed moderate inter-observer agreement for grading LACD. Glaucoma specialist optometrists showed moderate to substantial agreement with weighted kappa values that were equivalent to sub-specialist ophthalmologists. The augmented 7-point % grading scale is intuitive and potentially offers greater accuracy for grading narrow angles than the traditional 4-point scale for grading LACD.