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Evidence-Based Optometry


After you've created a question for your patient, you'll want to find scientific studies that will answer that question. 

Searching through PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, Vision Cite, and the library search box (which searches through PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane) will pull up scientific studies that contain evidence to answer your question.

Creating Search Terms

Remember how we talked about the type of questions you can ask? Using the acronym PICO you can create one of those foreground questions. Then, take the PICO elements and use those as search terms. PICO stands for:

Patient/Problem: the specific patient problem, condition or disease OR demographic data about your patient (female, elderly, e.g.)

Intervention/Exposure: Proposed treatment (such as a drug or surgery) or proposed test/screening tool
an exposure that might affect the likelihood of developing a disorder (such as smoking)

Comparison: a comparison treatment or diagnostic test

Outcomes of Interest: a result of having a disorder/symptom/complication such as mortality or morbidity OR the desired result for your patient such as increased visual acuity

PICO Elements in a Clinical Question

Below are examples of how PICO fits into different clinical questions. The PICO elements become your search terms.

Therapy Questions

In _______(P), what is the effect of _______(I) on ______(O) compared with _______(C)?

In patients with amblyopia, what is the effect of eyeglasses on correcting ambylopia compared with patching?


Etiology Questions

Does ___________ (I) increase the risk of __________ (P)?

Does smoking increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration? 


Diagnosis Questions

Are (is) _________ (I) more accurate in diagnosing ________ (P) compared with ______ (C)?

Is a refraction test more accurate in diagnosing myopia compared with a retinal examination?


Prognosis Questions

Does __________ (I) influence/result in ________ (O) in patients who have _______ (P)?

Does surgery result in increased visual acuity in patients who have glaucoma?


Adapted from J. Otto Lotter Health Sciences Library's examples of PICO questions

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