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Participant referral rate in the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS).pdf (590.83 kB)

Participant referral rate in the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS)

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-06-23, 02:16 authored by Stuart Keel, Pei Ying Lee, Joshua Foreman, Peter van Wijngaarden, Hugh R Taylor, Mohamed Dirani
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.


Publication Date



PLoS One





Article Number



12p. (p. 1-12)


Public Library of Science



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