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Mohamed Dirani, Joshua Ross Foreman, Stuart Keel, Jing Xie, Hugh Taylor; The utilisation of eye health care services in Australia - the National Eye Health Survey. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):2212.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To assess the utilisation of eye health care services in Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
A total of 3098 non-Indigenous Australians aged 50-98 years and 1738 Indigenous Australians aged 40-92 years were examined in 30 randomly selected sites, stratified by remoteness. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on sociodemographic parameters, past ocular history, diabetes, stroke and previous use of eye health care services. Multinomial logistic regression was used to determine associations between time since last examination and risk factors.
82.5% of non-Indigenous Australians and 67.0% of Indigenous Australians had undergone an eye examination within the previous two years. Indigenous status (OR = 0.48, p<0.001), male gender (OR = 0.55, p<0.001), Outer Regional (OR = 0.55, p<0.001) and Very Remote (OR = 0.46, p<0.001) residence predicted less recent eye examinations. Participants with self-reported eye disease or diabetes were most likely to have had an examination within the past year (OR = 3.04, p<0.001). For Indigenous Australians, older age was associated with recent utilisation of eye health services (OR = 1.03, p=0.001). Those with retinal disease and cataract were more likely to have seen an ophthalmologist (OR = 3.80, p<0.001), while those with refractive error were more likely to see an optometrist (OR = 0.64, p<0.001). In Inner Regional (OR = 0.47, p<0.001) and Outer Regional (OR = 0.65, p=0.004) Australia, non-Indigenous people visited optometrists more regularly than in Major Cities, while Indigenous Australians were more likely to utilise other, non-specialist services (OR = 2.83, p<0.001).
Improvements have been made in the utilisation of eye health care services, particularly in Indigenous Australians. However, further improvements are required in high risk groups including those living in Regional and Remote areas through increased availability of optometrists and mobile eye clinics, as well as improvements in community awareness.
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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