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Michael Bowen, Beverley Hancock, David Edgar, Rakhee Shah, PrOVIDe; Improving eye care for people with dementia: lessons for optometric practice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):1381.
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To explore and describe barriers to, and ways of improving, eye care for people with dementia.
Qualitative study. Focus groups, five with family carers and five with optometrists, were used to explore experiences of and attitudes towards eye care for people with dementia. Data were analysed using framework analysis to identify recurring themes and highlight differences or consistencies among participants and between groups.
Participants, both family carers of people with dementia and optometrists, displayed a range of attitudes and awareness of the importance of eye care for people with dementia. While some carers had good experiences of eye examinations, others reported a lack of practitioner understanding of how to deal with people with dementia; optometrists similarly varied in their confidence in dealing with this patient group. Balancing the demands of optometric testing and the possibility of causing distress versus quality of life was a key ethical issue for both parties. This was reflected in concerns around problems reported in persuading patients to wear prescribed eye wear and the appropriateness of cataract surgery.
Recommendations arising from the study included: more frequent eye examinations; more communication between the optometrist and the main carer; greater use of domiciliary testing; and earlier referral for cataract surgery. HS&DR Funding Acknowledgement: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme (project number 11/2000/13). Department of Health Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HS&DR Programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.
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