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    Barriers to effective eye care

    MDFA-funded study surveyed patients and practitioners.


    ‘Misaligned’ perspectives contributing to reduced patient care

    Evidence-based lifestyle changes that decrease the risk of AMD – such as quitting smoking, attending regular eye exams, and eating a macula-friendly diet full of oily fish and leafy greens – have been known for some time.

    However, self-reported practices suggest that eyecare professionals’ advice – and AMD patients’ adherence to it – can be very poor.

    Associate Professor Isabelle Jalbert asked why in this MDFA-funded study, which surveyed both patients and practitioners about the enablers and barriers to effective eye care.

    The study was called ‘Eyecare practitioners’ and patients’ perspectives on age-related macular degeneration: identifying barriers and facilitators to optimal AMD care’. A/Prof Jalbert received the $100,000 MDFA Research Grant over two years in 2015.

    A/Prof Jalbert learned the cost of care and a poor understanding of the nature and risk factors of AMD were major barriers to care, while optometrists and ophthalmologists could also improve their practices.

    The study found the perspective of the patient and the practitioner frequently misaligned.

    While optometrists and ophthalmologists thought they were communicating clearly to their patients, the information that patients took away was confused or just wrong.

    This project plus other funding has contributed to A/Prof Jalbert’s iCareTrack program of research – an ongoing national collaboration that aims to measure and improve the delivery of care in optometry practices across Australia.

    This article was first published in 10 years of research: Reflecting on the impact of investing into macular disease research.

    Posted: 26 June 2021

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