Aim The aim of this literature review was to explore the development of the role of specialist ophthalmic nurses in delivering ranibizumab intravitreal injections to patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and to evaluate their contribution to reducing capacity pressures in medical retina services, while maintaining safe and effective standards of care.
Method A systematic literature search was undertaken to identify relevant articles published between January 2000 and June 2015. A search of electronic databases was undertaken, and selected relevant journals were searched manually. A free text and subject heading search strategy was conducted, in which the abstracts of publications identified for review were assessed for relevance. Inclusion criteria were: nurses delivering ranibizumab intravitreal treatment; studies performed in the UK and other countries; and patients with AMD, diabetic macular oedema or central retinal vein occlusion receiving nurse-led ranibizumab (Lucentis) intravitreal treatment.
Findings Five studies were identified from the literature search, which audited a total of 31,303 injections delivered by nurse practitioners between January 2007 and November 2013. The visual outcomes and the rate of complications from intravitreal injections delivered by trained ophthalmic nurse practitioners were comparable to intravitreal injections delivered by ophthalmologists. Four of the five studies reported increased patient satisfaction, patients consenting to nurse-delivered intravitreal injections, favourable pain experience, and absence of complaints.
Conclusion Practice innovation is an example of a quality, innovation, productivity and prevention process. Role expansion, in which specialist ophthalmic nurses deliver intravitreal injections, has been shown to be economical, safe and effective. It enables timely delivery of the service, thereby preventing irreversible blindness for individuals with wet AMD.
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software
Received: 15 November 2015
Accepted: 07 January 2017
Published online: 04 April 2017