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Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2018 Apr;46(3):213-221. doi: 10.1111/ceo.13035. Epub 2017 Sep 6.

Utilization of eye health-care services in Australia: the National Eye Health Survey.

Author information

1
Centre for Eye Research Australia, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
2
Department of Surgery, Ophthalmology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
3
Indigenous Eye Health Unit, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE:

National data on eye health-care service utilization will inform Australia's eye health policy.

BACKGROUND:

To investigate the utilization of eye health-care services by Australians.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional survey.

PARTICIPANTS:

Indigenous Australians aged 40 years and older and non-Indigenous Australians aged 50 years and older.

METHODS:

One thousand seven hundred thirty-eight Indigenous Australians and 3098 non-Indigenous Australians were recruited from 30 randomly selected sites, stratified by remoteness. Sociodemographic, ocular history and eye health-care service utilization data were collected, and an eye examination was conducted.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Recentness of eye examinations, types of providers used and associated risk factors.

RESULTS:

Approximately 67.0% of Indigenous Australians and 82.5% of non-Indigenous Australians underwent an eye examination within the previous 2 years. Indigenous status (P < 0.001), male gender (P < 0.001), Outer Regional (P < 0.001) and Very Remote (P < 0.001) residence were associated with less recent examinations. Participants with >self-reported eye disease or diabetes were most likely to have been examined within the past year (P < 0.001). For Indigenous Australians, older age was associated with recent eye testing (P = 0.001). Those with retinal disease and cataract were more likely to see an ophthalmologist (P < 0.001), and those with refractive error were more likely to see an optometrist (P < 0.001). In Regional Australia, non-Indigenouspeople were more likely to see optometrists (P < 0.001), and Indigenous Australians were more likely to utilize other, non-specialistservices (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Eye examination frequency has improved in Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians compared with previous population-based research. Further improvements are required in risk groups including Indigenous Australians and those living in Regional and Remote areas.

KEYWORDS:

eye health care; eye test; indigenous health; national survey; population health

PMID:
28793183
DOI:
10.1111/ceo.13035
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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