Participant referral rate in the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS)
AuthorKeel, S; Lee, PY; Foreman, J; van Wijngaarden, P; Taylor, HR; Dirani, M
Source TitlePLoS One
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sForeman, Joshua Ross; van Wijngaarden, Peter; Taylor, Hugh; Dirani, Mohamed; Lee, Pei Ying
AffiliationMelbourne School of Population and Global Health
Ophthalmology (Eye & Ear Hospital)
Optometry and Vision Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsKeel, S., Lee, P. Y., Foreman, J., van Wijngaarden, P., Taylor, H. R. & Dirani, M. (2017). Participant referral rate in the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS). PLOS ONE, 12 (4), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0174867.
Access StatusOpen Access
PURPOSE: To present the rates of referral of participants in the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS) for further eye care. MATERIALS & METHODS: A national sample of 3098 non-Indigenous Australians aged 50-98 and 1738 Indigenous Australians aged 40-92 years living in 30 randomly selected sites was recruited using a door-to-door approach. Participants completed a general questionnaire and a series of eye tests, including vision and anterior segment assessment, intra-ocular pressure measurement, visual field testing and fundus photography. A predefined protocol was used to guide the referral of participants for follow up eye care. An ophthalmologist was on-call to assist with the triaging of participants. RESULTS: Of the total sample, 32.1% (994/3098) of non-Indigenous participants and 43.6% (757/1738) of Indigenous participants were referred for further eye care (p<0.001). A significant difference in referral rates for Indigenous Australians was observed between regions of differing geographic remoteness [range = 32.2% (Inner Regional)-60.4% (Very Remote), p <0.001]. After adjusting for covariates, males (OR = 1.24, 95% CI: 1.06-1.46), older age (OR = 1.02 per year, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.02) and longer time since previous eye examination (OR = 1.15 per year, 95% CI: 1.12, 1.19) were associated with higher rates of eye care referral in the non-Indigenous population. In the Indigenous population, older age (OR = 1.02 per year, 95% CI: 1.01-1.03), self-reported diabetes (OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.37-2.12), greater geographical remoteness (OR = 1.19, 95% CI: 1.09-1.29) and longer time since previous eye examination (OR = 1.10 per year, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.13) were associated with a higher rate of referral after multivariate adjustments. A total of 25 participants (1.4%) were referred for urgent follow-up of potentially sight threatening conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Our data has identified several high risk groups that required ophthalmic referral including older Australians, non-Indigenous men, Indigenous Australians with self-reported diabetes and those residing in very remote populations who may benefit from improvements in the provision and/or uptake of eye health services. Future longitudinal research is warranted to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of implementing a referral protocol within a population-based research setting.
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