Eye health profile of affordable eye care service users

Marianne Piano, Cirous Dehghani, Neville Turner, Allison McKendrick, Michael Ibbotson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Clinical relevance: Knowledge of the typical eye health profile of patients experiencing social or economic disadvantage is useful for health care modelling.

Background: The aim of this work is to profile the ocular health and sociodemographic characteristics of Australian College of Optometry service users of all ages and to explore the relationships between key sociodemographic characteristics and eye health.

Methods: For 3093 eye examinations, best-corrected distance visual acuity and mean spherical equivalent refractive error were tested non-parametrically by clinic category, remoteness area, number of co-morbidities, gender and indigenous status, also correlated against age and socioeconomic advantage/disadvantage. Covariates of interest were entered into linear mixed models of visual acuity and mean spherical equivalent refractive error, controlling for age. Risk estimates are reported for visual impairment (defined as ≤6/12 best-corrected distance visual acuity in one or both eyes) and ocular diagnoses.

Results: Visual impairment is more prevalent amongst service users examined in domiciliary settings. Increasing co-morbidities were associated with poorer best-corrected distance visual acuity. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service users had lower visual impairment prevalence overall but proportionally fewer aged ≥50 years attended for eye care, compared to non-indigenous.

Conclusions: Domiciliary eye examinations detect remediable visual impairment. Federal public health interventions delivered by the Australian College of Optometry for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye care appear effective but may not reach all aged ≥ 50 years; further research is required. Identification of multiple co-morbidities should prompt optometrists to tailor public health messages and signpost to low vision services earlier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-657
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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