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Authors
Malkin, Alexis G. OD, FAAO; Ross, Nicole C. OD, MSc, FAAO1; Chan, Tiffany L. OD, FAAO; Protosow, Kristin OD, FAAO; Bittner, Ava K. OD, PhD, FAAO

U.S. Optometrists' Reported Practices and Perceived Barriers for Low Vision Care for Mild Visual Loss

publication date
October 14, 2019
Category
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Abstract/Introduction

SIGNIFICANCE 

Identification of modifiable barriers to low vision rehabilitation (LVR) can inform efforts to improve practice management of patients with low vision (LV), through, for example, targeted educational programs for optometrists who do not practice LVR.

PURPOSE 

Mild vision loss (20/25 to 20/70) is increasing in prevalence among the aging population, yet it is unclear whether near-reading complaints (the highest presenting chief complaint) are being addressed. Studies of LVR provision by U.S. optometrists are currently lacking. This study elucidated self-reported optometric practice patterns for patients with mild vision loss.

METHODS 

Anonymous surveys were completed by 229 actively practicing optometrists across the United States. The survey inquired about the frequency of providing LVR for mild vision loss patients and the top barriers that prevent them from offering LVR management (including optical aids or referral).


Conclusion/Results

RESULTS 

Compared with those moderately actively practicing LVR, twice as many (2.08×) practitioners who do not practice any LVR reported that they never prescribe near-reading add power of 4 D or greater for mild vision loss (P < .001). Among those who do not practice LVR, 39 and 11% indicated that they never prescribe any LVR management strategies for patients with visual acuity of 20/25 to 20/40 and 20/50 to 20/70, respectively. The two most commonly reported barriers to LVR indicated by about half of respondents were “cost of the LV exam and/or devices” and that “patients are not interested or would not go to an LV exam.” Nearly a third of providers reported that “it is not feasible to stock magnifiers in office.”

CONCLUSIONS

A sizable group of non-LVR providers in the United States may not be addressing the near-vision needs of patients with mild vision loss. Several of the reported top barriers are potentially modifiable through the development of targeted educational programs for providers.


Testimonials


  • Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


    Anna P.

  • I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


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  • Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


    Christine R.

  • 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.


    Lars Wulff

  • Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


    Justin E.

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