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A. Muller, H.T. Vu, J.G. Ferraro, J.E. Keeffe, H.R. Taylor; The Utilisation of Eye Care Services in Victoria . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):3478.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To determine baseline eye care utilisation by older Victorians in order to assess change in two years after an eye health promotion campaign.
A letter of invitation to participate was sent to all people aged 70 to 79 years that held Seniors Cards in randomly selected Melbourne postcode areas stratified by socioeconomic status. A questionnaire was designed to allow gathering of information on self–reported eye disease, utilisation of services and attitudes and knowledge regarding eye health. Eye exams included best–corrected VA using autorefraction, visual field testing with Frequency Doubling Technology (FDT) and lens and fundus photography using a non–mydriatic fundus camera. People were considered visually impaired if presenting VA was <6/12 in the better eye. Results were compared to the Melbourne Visual Impairment Project (VIP).
A total of 1695 people with a mean age of 74 years were recruited. The overall proportion with visual impairment was 8% (134/1695), of which 53% (70/134) was due to non–refractive causes. Only 31% (22/70) of visually impaired people knew about low vision services, of which 36% (8/22) had used them. Of all 21 people that were visually impaired due to AMD, only 29% (6/21) knew about low vision services and only 10% (2/21) used them. Gender (OR 1.61, CI 0.58–4.46) and educational level (OR 1.69, CI 0.18–15.6) were not related to knowledge about low vision services among visually impaired people. Overall, 92% (1401/1528) reported an eye exam in the last 5 years. The likelihood of having had an exam within that time was not related to gender (OR 1.08, CI 0.74–1.58) or educational level (OR 1.35, CI 0.71–2.56). Of all people with diabetes, only 52% (96/184) had a dilated eye exam within the recommended 2 years (VIP 49%). Of all 11 people that were visually impaired due to glaucoma, 55% (6/11) were previously undiagnosed (VIP 50%). None of them had an eye test in the last 4 years.
Low vision services need to be promoted among people with non–correctable visual impairment. Results show that compliance rates with recommendations for 2–yearly eye exams for people with diabetes have not improved since the last major eye health study in Victoria ten years ago. The same is true for the rate of undiagnosed glaucoma, suggesting that messages about eye examinations need to be promoted for older people at high risk of vision loss, e.g. those with diabetes and at risk of vision loss from glaucoma.
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