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Alexis G Malkin, Robert W Massof; Baseline traits of patients presenting for low vision services in a community health center. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):1062.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous literature has investigated the baseline traits of patients who present to outpatient low vision (LV) clinical centers. These patients tend to be older affected by mostly macular disease. We previously reported on incidence and prevalence of LV in Essex County, MA; there is good correlation with NHANES data. This study evaluated the LV population presenting to a community health center in this county in comparison to existing literature.
A retrospective chart review was conducted of low vision patients (over age 18) who presented to the Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) from Jan. 2017-June 2017 (n=20). Demographic information, language preference and LV clinical findings were documented. These findings were compared to findings from the 2012 Low Vision Rehabilitation Outcomes Study (LVROS).
In the LCHC population, 66% of patients were best served in a language other than English (50% Spanish; the other 50% spoke Cambodian, Arabic, Yoruba, Somali, Dari and Vietnamese). In the LCHC population, the patients were younger with a median age of 57.5 (p<.001, CI: 16.54-20.46). The LCHC patients also had significantly less macular disease (30%) as a primary diagnosis (p < .01). Finally, the LCHC patients presented with more severe vision impairment, 50% were legally blind secondary to non-macular diseases (p <.01). The patients in the LVROS are best characterized as older (median age 77) with 55% macular disease. Many of these patients had mild vision loss and only 25% were legally blind at presentation. All patients in LVROS were English-speaking (an inclusion criterion).
The LVROS provided a large dataset of baseline traits of patients presenting for LV services, but our analysis showed that these traits do not apply to every population. This study showed that the LCHC patients are younger and are legally blind from conditions that are not macular in nature. These patients also have worse vision and different disease etiologies. These variations necessitate further studies to better provide services in community health centers. Additionally, we have a limited ability for outcome measures due to language barriers and limited access to services. Further research should focus on designing appropriate low vision outcome measures for this type of population so that we can improve the delivery model for low vision care in these growing populations.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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