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J. T. Flynn, B. Fuchs, R. A. V. Santos, S. Wong, M. F. Chiang, S. Chang; Evaluation of Low Vision Prevalence and Referral Rate in a University-Based Academic Practice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):3556.
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With the goal of evaluating the continuity of care for low vision patients, we determined the prevalence and causes of low vision as well as the referral rate for low vision services in an academic multi-specialty ophthalmology practice.
A retrospective review was performed of charts from all patient visits to the Columbia University ophthalmology faculty practice, during an eight-week period from September to November 2006. Low vision was defined as best-corrected visual acuity in the better eye of less than 20/60 (World Health Organization criteria). We assessed the percentage of low vision patients, their underlying diagnoses, tests performed, and the referral rate to low vision services.
One thousand thirty-three charts were reviewed, and 97 charts (9.4%) were associated with patients that met the established low vision criteria. Low vision patients ranged in age from 21 to 99 years. Among these low vision patients, 51 (53%) were diagnosed with glaucoma, 36 (37%) with age-related macular degeneration, 12 (12%) with diabetic retinopathy, 8 (8%) with macular pucker, 6 (6%) with central vein occlusion, and 6 (6%) with retinal detachment. Only 2 low vision patients (2%) were formally referred to low vision services
Numerous underlying etiologies were associated with low vision in a multi-specialty academic ophthalmology practice. The referral rate to low vision services among patients who met established criteria was low, and patients may benefit from increased attention to this issue.
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