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Petra Pei Fang, Anne Schnetzer, Frank Krummenauer, Robert P. Finger, Frank G Holz; The OVIS Study - Visual impairment in institutionalized elderly people. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):2191.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Demographic transition will lead to a substantial increase of blindness and visual impairment in the elderly of whom a substantial and growing proportion live in nursing and seniors’ homes. Recent studies from industrialized countries suggest unmet ophthalmological health care needs in institutionalized elderly. In order to substantiate this as well as generate data to plan health services for this hard to reach group the prospective multicenter cross sectional OVIS study, which was implemented during 2014-2016, investigated ophthalmic health care need and provision in institutionalized elderly in Germany.
Nursing homes located close to participating centres were selected purposefully and all inhabitants invited to participate. All participants underwent a standardized examination including a detailed medical and ocular history, refraction, visual acuity testing, tonometry, biomicroscopy and dilated funduscopy. Data were analyzed descriptively.
A total of 600 participants (434 women and 166 men) aged 50 to 104 were examined in 32 retirement homes in Germany. 368 (61%) had ophthalmological findings requiring treatment. The most prevalent finding was cataract, present in 53% of the examined cohort. More than half of these patients (62%) were recommended to cataract surgery. A diagnosed glaucoma was present in 9% of whom however one third was on none or insufficient anti-glaucoma treatment. In an additional 8% glaucoma was suspected and further evaluation including visual field testing recommended. Thus 17% of the examined institutionalized elderly had a suspected or confirmed glaucoma, requiring regular examinations and/or further evaluation. Only 52% of the examined cohort had seen an ophthalmologist within the last 5 years. 61% stated that they would be able to consult an ophthalmologist. However, reported main barriers were transport (39%) and absence of support (19%).
This study demonstrates that there is considerable unmet ophthalmic healthcare need in institutionalized elderly people in Germany. As ophthalmologists currently do not visit nursing homes and transport as well as lack of support are major barriers to accessing healthcare providers, novel models of healthcare provision need to be thought of.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.
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