WHICH FACTORS INFLUENCE PATIENTS’ UTILISATION OF EYE CARE?

Title WHICH FACTORS INFLUENCE PATIENTS’ UTILISATION OF EYE CARE?
Author, Co-Author Blanka Golebiowski, Ulrike Stahl, Lisa Keay, Fiona Stapleton
Topic
Year
2011
Day
Wednesday
Program Number
110120
Room
Room 309
Affiliation
University of New South Wales, School of Optometry and Vision Science
Abstract PURPOSE: Regular eye examination is vital for early diagnosis of ocular disease and prevention of unnecessary vision loss. This study aimed to determine rates of utilisation of eye care in the general community and to explore factors influencing non-utilisation.

METHODS: Telephone interviews were conducted with 500 randomly selected Australian residents over 40yo who had accessed eye care within the past 5 years and 300 who had not. Socio-demographic predictors of non-access were evaluated using multiple regression models. Non-accessors were also asked their main reason for not visiting an eye practitioner.

RESULTS: 7% of respondents had not attended an optometrist or ophthalmologist within 5 years and 2% had never accessed eye care. The most frequently cited reasons for not attending eye care were "not necessary" (61% of non-accessors), "cost" (7%), "time or travel" (8%). Respondents who had not accessed eye care within 5 years or never were more likely to be male (odds ratio 2.41, 95% confidence interval 1.71-3.40), younger than 50yo (OR 2.75, CI 1.85-4.09), in full-time employment (OR 1.46, CI 1.01-2.10) with dependent children (OR 2.90, CI 1.93-4.36) and less likely to hold private health insurance (OR 2.08, CI 1.49-2.90) or live in an accessible residential location (OR 1.61, CI 1.07-2.41), when compared with those who had attended eye care. The factors with greatest influence on non-utilisation of eye care in this population were being male (population attributable risk (PAR) 40%), not holding private health insurance (PAR 28%), having dependent children (PAR 26%), and being younger than 50yo (PAR 20%). No significant influence was evident for education level, household income or country of birth on access to eye care.

CONCLUSIONS: A perceived lack of need is an important factor governing the utilisation of eye care in the general community. Improvements are needed in community awareness of the need for preventative eye care. Public health campaigns to improve uptake of services should have greatest impact if targeted at males, those younger than 50, and those with dependent children.
Affiliation of Co-Authors University of New South Wales, School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, School of Optometry and Vision Science
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