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Norris Lam MSc, OD, FAAOSusan J. Leat, PhD, FCOptom, FAAO

Canadian Optometric Low Vision: Predictive Factors and Regional Comparisons

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Purpose: To investigate the regional differences in low vision (LV) provision across Canada and to identify predictive factors for the provision of more extensive low vision services (LVS).

Methods:  Practising  optometrists  across  Canada  were  invited  to  participate  in  a  questionnaire  that  investigated personal and practice demographics, levels of LVS offered, patterns of referrals and barriers to provision of LVS.


Results:  459  optometrists  responded.  Predictive  factors  for  providing  more  extensive  LVS  included:  optometrists  with  >15  years  of  practice,  having  a  local  LV  optometrist/ophthalmologist  within  one  day’s travel, not having a multi-disciplinary LV clinic within one-day’s travel, working in a practice in a population of <50,000, and having 2+ optometrists in the same practice. Regional differences were found in the following variables: the presence of an optometrist offering LVS within the respondent’s primary practice, referral criteria, the type of LV provider receiving the referral, and the perceived quality of LVS.

Conclusions: LVS are provided differently across Canada and the availability of government-funded LVS appeared to enhance optometric referrals to multidisciplinary low vision clinics. Optometrists who were in a group practice setting, who had practiced for >15 years and who worked in a less populated area were more likely to provide more extensive LVS


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Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

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