Referral to Low Vision Services for Glaucoma Patients: Referral Patterns and Characteristics of Those Who Refer

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Abstract

Purpose:

To identify characteristics of ophthalmologists and practices who refer glaucoma patients to low vision services (LVS).

Materials and Methods:

An online survey was distributed to members of the American Glaucoma Society. The survey queried demographics of responders and their clinical practices, criteria and barriers to referral to LVS. Survey responders were categorized as high referrers if they reported referring >5 patients to LVS and low referrers if they referred ≤5. χ2 and Fischer exact tests were used to compare characteristics between high and low referrers. Logistic regression analyses were used to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals and determine factors associated with referrer status.

Results:

High referrers to LVS tended to have >10 patients per month who had already seen a low vision provider (53% vs. 10%, P<0.001), reported following the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Preferred Practice Pattern (PPP) recommendations for LVS referrals (38% vs. 18%, P=0.011), and expressed satisfaction with their current referral practices (86% vs. 70%, P=0.049). In the fully adjusted model those who followed PPP were 2.5 times more likely to report being a high referrer as compared with a low referrer (95% confidence interval, 1.1-5.3). However, only 22% of ophthalmologists reported following these guidelines in their practice. The number of years in practice, practice location or type, volume of patients seen each week, and distance to a low vision clinic were not associated with referral.

Conclusions:

Familiarity with PPP guidelines may positively influence LVS referral practices.

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