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Ophthalmologist knowledge of evidence-based medicine and clinical practice guideline recommendations


The use of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) saves time and provides the highest level of evidence, allowing busy ophthalmologists to make the best clinical decisions in a short amount of time. The aim of this study is to evaluate Iranian ophthalmologists’ knowledge and attitudes toward evidence-based medicine (EBM), and knowledge of CPGs. We performed a cross-sectional survey during the Annual Congress of the Iranian Society of Ophthalmology (November 2011). We administered 2 questionnaires regarding ophthalmologists’ attitudes towards EBM and self-reported clinical practices to a self-selected sample of ophthalmologists who volunteered to be surveyed. We employed descriptive statistics and unadjusted associations to describe the results. Of 556 attendees, 100 ophthalmologists responded to the first questionnaire, and 60% of them answered the second questionnaire. Although 83% had heard about EBM, only 11% knew what EBM was. Ninety-five percent of respondents believed in evidence-based ophthalmology training. Few understood EBM terminology. More than 60% of ophthalmologists surveyed had no familiarity with the Cochrane Library, MDConsult or Turning Research Into Practice (TRIP databases. Of the ophthalmologists surveyed, 26% implemented guidelines for problem solving, and 59% utilised the internet for finding clinical guidelines. The mean proportions of correct response to evidence-based cataract and glaucoma management questions were 68 and 56, respectively. Iranian ophthalmologists had a fair to poor knowledge but good attitudes towards EBM. Improving evidence-based knowledge and attitudes may be a component of improving Iranian ophthalmologists’ clinical practices.


This study is granted by Iranian Evidence Based Medicine Center of Excellence, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, and their support is greatly appreciated. The authors also thank the members of the Iranian Society of Ophthalmology.

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  • Contributors MG and SH designed the study, HM and AM collected the data, MG and FS-G conducted the data analysis, and the article was written by SH and FS-G, and critically edited by AM and FS-G. All the authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This study is funded by Iranian Evidence Based Medicine Center of Excellence.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval All the authors declare that all steps of the study approved by the local ethical committee of Iranian Evidence Based Medicine Center of Excellence and have therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.

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

  • Data sharing statement The two questionnaires regarding ophthalmologists’ attitudes towards EBM and self-reported clinical practices are available from the authors on request.