Public Health

Deiner MS, Seitzman GD, Kaur G, McLeod SD, Chodosh J, Lietman TM, Porco TC. Sustained Reductions in Online Search Interest for Communicable Eye and Other Conditions During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Infodemiology Study. JMIR Infodemiology 2022;2(1):e31732.Abstract
Background: In a prior study at the start of the pandemic, we reported reduced numbers of Google searches for the term "conjunctivitis" in the United States in March and April 2020 compared with prior years. As one explanation, we conjectured that reduced information-seeking may have resulted from social distancing reducing contagious conjunctivitis cases. Here, after 1 year of continued implementation of social distancing, we asked if there have been persistent reductions in searches for "conjunctivitis," and similarly for other communicable disease terms, compared to control terms. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine if reduction in searches in the United States for terms related to conjunctivitis and other common communicable diseases occurred in the spring-winter season of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to compare this outcome to searches for terms representing noncommunicable conditions, COVID-19, and to seasonality. Methods: Weekly relative search frequency volume data from Google Trends for 68 search terms in English for the United States were obtained for the weeks of March 2011 through February 2021. Terms were classified a priori as 16 terms related to COVID-19, 29 terms representing communicable conditions, and 23 terms representing control noncommunicable conditions. To reduce bias, all analyses were performed while masked to term names, classifications, and locations. To test for the significance of changes during the pandemic, we detrended and compared postpandemic values to those expected based on prepandemic trends, per season, computing one- and two-sided P values. We then compared these P values between term groups using Wilcoxon rank-sum and Fisher exact tests to assess if non-COVID-19 terms representing communicable diseases were more likely to show significant reductions in searches in 2020-2021 than terms not representing such diseases. We also assessed any relationship between a term's seasonality and a reduced search trend for the term in 2020-2021 seasons. P values were subjected to false discovery rate correction prior to reporting. Data were then unmasked. Results: Terms representing conjunctivitis and other communicable conditions showed a sustained reduced search trend in the first 4 seasons of the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic compared to prior years. In comparison, the search for noncommunicable condition terms was significantly less reduced (Wilcoxon and Fisher exact tests, P<.001; summer, autumn, winter). A significant correlation was also found between reduced search for a term in 2020-2021 and seasonality of that term (Theil-Sen, P<.001; summer, autumn, winter). Searches for COVID-19-related conditions were significantly elevated compared to those in prior years, and searches for influenza-related terms were significantly lower than those for prior years in winter 2020-2021 (P<.001). Conclusions: We demonstrate the low-cost and unbiased use of online search data to study how a wide range of conditions may be affected by large-scale interventions or events such as social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings support emerging clinical evidence implicating social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic in the reduction of communicable disease and on ocular conditions.
Guo X, Shakarchi AF, Block SS, Friedman DS, Repka MX, Collins ME. Non-Cycloplegic Compared with Cycloplegic Refraction in a Chicago School-aged Population. Ophthalmology 2022;Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate differences between autorefraction measurements with and without cycloplegia among school-aged individuals and to explore factors associated with significant differences. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, retrospective study PARTICIPANTS: Individuals between 3 and 22 years, evaluated at the Illinois College of Optometry Princeton Vision Clinic (PVC) from September 2016 through June 2019, who had same day non-cycloplegic and cycloplegic autorefractions of their right eyes. METHODS: Demographic information including age, sex, and race/ethnicity were collected during the eye exam. Autorefraction was performed before and after cycloplegia. Myopia defined as at least -0.50 diopters (D) spherical equivalent (SE), hyperopia as at least +0.50D SE, and astigmatism of at least 1.00D cylinder were determined using both non-cycloplegic and cycloplegic autorefractions. Factors associated with at least 1.00D more myopic SE or at least 0.75D cylindrical difference by non-cycloplegic autorefraction was assessed using logistic regression models. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Differences between non-cycloplegic and cycloplegic autorefraction measures RESULTS: The mean age was 10.8±4.0 years for the 11119 individuals; 52.4% were females. The mean SE refraction was -0.87±2.11D for non-cycloplegic and -0.23±2.31D for cycloplegic refraction, with non-cycloplegic SE measuring 0.65±1.04D more myopic. After adjusting for demographic factors and refractive error, individuals with ≥1.00D more myopic SE refraction by non-cycloplegic autorefraction (25.9%) were more likely to be <5 years of age (odds ratio [OR]=1.45, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.18 to 1.79) and 5 to <10 years (OR=1.32, 95%CI: 1.18 to 1.48) compared with those 10 to <15 years. This ≥1.00D more myopic SE difference was more likely to be observed in Hispanics (OR=1.23, 95%CI: 1.10 to 1.36) and individuals with hyperopia (ORs range: 1.56 to 5.64). Individuals with ≥ 0.75D cylindrical difference (5.1%) between refractions were more likely to be <5 years of age, male, and have mild/moderate/high myopia, or moderate/high hyperopia. CONCLUSIONS: Three quarters of school-aged individuals had less than 1D myopic SE difference using non-cycloplegic compared to cycloplegic autorefraction. Understanding measurement differences obtained for refractive error and associated factors may provide useful information for future studies or programs involving refraction in school-aged children.
Ramke J, Evans JR, Habtamu E, Mwangi N, Silva JC, Swenor BK, Congdon N, Faal HB, Foster A, Friedman DS, Gichuhi S, Jonas JB, Khaw PT, Kyari F, Murthy GVS, Wang N, Wong TY, Wormald R, Yusufu M, Taylor H, Resnikoff S, West SK, Burton MJ, in study group GCGEH. Grand Challenges in global eye health: a global prioritisation process using Delphi method. Lancet Healthy Longev 2022;3(1):e31-e41.Abstract
Background: We undertook a Grand Challenges in Global Eye Health prioritisation exercise to identify the key issues that must be addressed to improve eye health in the context of an ageing population, to eliminate persistent inequities in health-care access, and to mitigate widespread resource limitations. Methods: Drawing on methods used in previous Grand Challenges studies, we used a multi-step recruitment strategy to assemble a diverse panel of individuals from a range of disciplines relevant to global eye health from all regions globally to participate in a three-round, online, Delphi-like, prioritisation process to nominate and rank challenges in global eye health. Through this process, we developed both global and regional priority lists. Findings: Between Sept 1 and Dec 12, 2019, 470 individuals complete round 1 of the process, of whom 336 completed all three rounds (round 2 between Feb 26 and March 18, 2020, and round 3 between April 2 and April 25, 2020) 156 (46%) of 336 were women, 180 (54%) were men. The proportion of participants who worked in each region ranged from 104 (31%) in sub-Saharan Africa to 21 (6%) in central Europe, eastern Europe, and in central Asia. Of 85 unique challenges identified after round 1, 16 challenges were prioritised at the global level; six focused on detection and treatment of conditions (cataract, refractive error, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, services for children and screening for early detection), two focused on addressing shortages in human resource capacity, five on other health service and policy factors (including strengthening policies, integration, health information systems, and budget allocation), and three on improving access to care and promoting equity. Interpretation: This list of Grand Challenges serves as a starting point for immediate action by funders to guide investment in research and innovation in eye health. It challenges researchers, clinicians, and policy makers to build collaborations to address specific challenges. Funding: The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Moorfields Eye Charity, National Institute for Health Research Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre, Wellcome Trust, Sightsavers, The Fred Hollows Foundation, The Seva Foundation, British Council for the Prevention of Blindness, and Christian Blind Mission. Translations: For the French, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Arabic and Persian translations of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.
Nahum AS, Vongsachang H, Friedman DS, Collins ME. Parental Trust in School-Based Health Care: A Systematic Review. J Sch Health 2022;92(1):79-91.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Health care delivery in schools is a frequently adopted approach to reduce health care inequalities. Lack of parental trust has been identified as impacting participation in school-based health care programs (SBHPs). The aim of our systematic review is to outline themes related to parental trust in SBHPs. METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, CINHAL, ERIC, PsycInfo, and Web of Science for articles published between 1969 and 2019. Eligible studies (1) were peer-reviewed primary research articles; (2) were school-based health interventions or screening programs; (3) included parental trust data; and (4) were carried out on schoolchildren from pre-K to grade 12. Study location, data collection date, number of participants, demographics, intervention type, study aim and methodology, and all trust themes mentioned, were extracted. Studies were critically appraised using the CASP checklist for qualitative research. RESULTS: We identified 9 themes related to parental trust in SBHPs: (1) safety; (2) effectiveness; (3) health professionals' training and credentials; (4) communication; (5) confidentiality; (6) providers; (7) government, authorities, and health service; (8) the pharmaceutical industry; and (9) research and data sharing. CONCLUSIONS: The themes identified provide a framework for examining trust in SBHPs, and may guide the development of interventions to increase trust and engagement in SBHPs.
Halawa OA, Kolli A, Oh G, Mitchell WG, Glynn RJ, Kim DH, Friedman DS, Zebardast N. Racial and Socioeconomic Differences in Eye Care Utilization among Medicare Beneficiaries with Glaucoma. Ophthalmology 2022;129(4):397-405.Abstract
PURPOSE: Evaluate differences in eye care utilization among patients with glaucoma by race and socioeconomic status (SES). DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Representative 5% sample of Medicare beneficiaries aged > 65 years with continuous part A/B enrollment between January 1, 2014, and July 1, 2014, at least 1 diagnosis code for glaucoma within that period, and a glaucoma diagnosis in the Chronic Conditions Warehouse before January 1, 2014. METHODS: The following race/ethnicity categories were defined in our cohort: non-Hispanic White, Black/African American, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander. Low SES was defined as having 2 or more enrollment-based low-income indicators (dual eligibility for Medicare/Medicaid, Part D limited income subsidies, and eligibility for Part A and B State buy-in). Negative binomial regression analyses were carried out to compare relative rate ratios (RRs) of eye care utilization among racial groups stratified by low and non-low SES. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Measured from July 1, 2014, to December 31, 2016: eye examinations and eye care-related office visits; eye care-related inpatient and emergency department (ED) encounters; eye care-related nursing home and home-visit encounters; visual field and retinal nerve fiber OCT tests; glaucoma lasers and surgeries. RESULTS: Among 78 526 participants with glaucoma, mean age was 79.1 years (standard deviation, 7.9 years), 60.9% were female, 78.4% were non-Hispanic White, and 13.8% met enrollment-based criteria for low-SES. Compared with White beneficiaries, Blacks had lower counts of outpatient visits (RR, 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90-0.93), visual field (VF) tests (RR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.90-0.94), but more inpatient/ED encounters (RR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.55-3.78) and surgeries (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.03-1.27). Hispanics had fewer outpatient visits (RR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.95-0.98) and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) OCT tests (RR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.86-0.93), but more inpatient/ED encounters (RR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.18-4.57) and selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) (RR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.11-1.42) versus non-Hispanic Whites. In the non-low SES group, Black versus White disparities persisted in outpatient visits (RR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.92-0.95), VF (RR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94-0.98), RNFL OCT (RR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.78-0.83), and inpatient/ED encounters (RR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.55-4.26). CONCLUSIONS: Disparities were found in eye care utilization among Black and Hispanic patients with glaucoma. These differences persisted among Blacks after stratification by SES, suggesting that systemic racism may be an independent driver in this population.
Mudie LI, Guo X, Slavin RE, Madden N, Wolf R, Owoeye J, Friedman DS, Repka MX, Collins ME. Baltimore Reading and Eye Disease Study: vision outcomes of school-based eye care. Can J Ophthalmol 2022;57(1):36-40.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: There are unmet needs for refractive correction in the pediatric population, especially in high-poverty communities. We reported the impact of refractive correction on vision outcomes over a 2-year follow-up in the Baltimore Reading and Eye Disease Study. DESIGN: Prospective, school-based cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Students of second and third grades who were prescribed glasses during baseline assessment. METHODS: We conducted baseline eye exams in 12 Baltimore public schools during the fall of school year 2014-15 with follow-up visits in the spring of school year 2014-15 (first follow-up) and school year 2015-16 (second follow-up). Visual acuity (VA) was measured at distance and near with correction. Refractive status was determined based on the eye with the larger refractive error and categorized as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: VA in better-seeing and worse-seeing eye at first and second follow-up, and acuity improvement from baseline. RESULTS: In the 206 students (84% African American) who completed the first follow-up, both distance (from 0.14 ± 0.20 to 0.05 ± 0.10 logMAR) and near presenting VA (from 0.08 ± 0.16 to 0.03 ± 0.06 logMAR) improved from the baseline assessment; children with more severe hyperopia showed improvement in near VA by 0.05 ± 0.16 logMAR. Children who were prescribed glasses through a school-based research study had improved vision, which was sustained into the following school year. CONCLUSIONS: Many second and third graders in Baltimore Schools needed refractive correction and benefited from provision of glasses with sustained vision improvement over the 2-year observation.
Collins ME, Guo X, Mudie LI, Slavin RE, Madden N, Chang D, Owoeye J, Repka MX, Friedman DS. Baseline vision results from the Baltimore Reading and Eye Disease Study. Can J Ophthalmol 2022;57(1):29-35.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: We describe the Baltimore Reading and Eye Disease Study, report baseline ocular findings, and explore the feasibility of eye examinations in the school setting. DESIGN: Prospective, school-based cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Students in second and third grades. METHODS: Baseline eye examinations, including near and distance presenting visual acuity (VA), stereopsis, ocular alignment, dilated retinal examination, and cycloplegic refraction, were performed in 12 Baltimore public schools during the 2014-15 school year. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Presenting VA, prevalence of refractive error, and other ocular findings. RESULTS: Among the 1054 eligible students, 321 participated. There were 271 (84.4%) African American and 186 (57.9%) female students; mean age was 7.9 ± 0.8 years. Cycloplegia was achieved in 308. The mean presenting distance and near VA was 0.1 ± 0.2 logMAR (range -0.1 to 1.5) and 0.1 ± 0.2 logMAR (range 0.0-1.6) in the better-seeing eye, respectively. The most common ocular findings were +1.00 diopter (D) or greater hyperopia (34.7%), -0.50 D or greater myopia (29.5%), 1.00 D or greater astigmatism (23.4%), and convergence insufficiency (7.2%). Thirty-seven (11.5%) children needed referral to an eye care provider; 10% of students required glasses full-time. CONCLUSIONS: Whereas the majority of second and third grade students in this study have good VA and minimal refractive error, 1 in 9 have an ocular finding necessitating further evaluation. It was feasible to conduct cycloplegic eye examinations in the school setting.
Guo X, Friedman DS, Repka MX, Collins ME. Visual acuity and refractive findings in children prescribed glasses from a school-based vision program. J AAPOS 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: We report visual acuity improvement and refractive profiles in children prescribed glasses by a school-based vision program (SBVP) in Baltimore, Maryland. METHODS: In this cross-sectional analysis, pre-kindergarten through 8th grade students who failed vision screening underwent an eye examination. Students prescribed glasses are included. Visual acuity improvement was the difference between presenting and best-corrected visual acuity based on noncycloplegic manifest refraction. Clinically significant refractive error (CSRE) was defined as ≥0.75 D myopia, ≥2.00 D hyperopia without strabismus, ≥1.00 D hyperopia with esodeviation, or ≥1.50 D astigmatism AND presenting visual acuity ≤20/40 or ≥2-line difference with the better-seeing eye ≤20/30. Characteristics associated with greater visual acuity improvement were explored. RESULTS: Of the 4,972 students, mean age was 9.4 ± 2.7 years; 77% were black, and 18% were Hispanic. Myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and CSRE were found in 65%, 24%, 60%, and 46% students, respectively. In the better-seeing eyes, 70% gained ≥2 lines. Of students with CSRE, improvement of at least 5 lines in the worse-seeing eye increased from 30.9% in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten to 77.3% in 7th and 8th grade (Ptrend < 0.001). Students with CSRE had a higher rate of gaining at least 2 lines' improvement in their worse-seeing eyes compared with those without (98.7% vs 80.6%). Older students as well as blacks and Hispanics were more likely to have improvement of at least 2 lines. CONCLUSIONS: Most students prescribed glasses from our SBVP had clinically significant visual deficits corrected.
Kolomeyer NN, Katz LJ, Hark LA, Wahl M, Gajwani P, Aziz K, Myers JS, Friedman DS. Lessons Learned From 2 Large Community-based Glaucoma Screening Studies. J Glaucoma 2021;30(10):875-877.Abstract
Community-based screening programs have had limited success in preventing vision loss from glaucoma due to overall low prevalence of glaucoma, screening limitations, and barriers to follow-up appointments. This editorial highlights lessons learned from 2 large prospective trials: the Philadelphia Telemedicine Glaucoma Detection and Follow-up Study and the Screening To Prevent Glaucoma Study. While some lessons are specific to ophthalmology, many lessons are applicable to screening for asymptomatic diseases in underserved, vulnerable communities.
Neitzel AJ, Wolf B, Guo X, Shakarchi AF, Madden NA, Repka MX, Friedman DS, Collins ME. Effect of a Randomized Interventional School-Based Vision Program on Academic Performance of Students in Grades 3 to 7: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Ophthalmol 2021;139(10):1104-1114.Abstract
Importance: Uncorrected refractive error in school-aged children may affect learning. Objective: To assess the effect of a school-based vision program on academic achievement among students in grades 3 to 7. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cluster randomized clinical trial was conducted in Baltimore City Public Schools during school years from 2016 to 2019 among 2304 students in grades 3 to 7 who received eye examinations and eyeglasses. Intervention: Participating schools were randomized 1:1:1 to receive eye examinations and eyeglasses during 1 of 3 school years (2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019). Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was 1-year intervention impact, measured by effect size (ES), defined as the difference in score on an academic test (i-Ready or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests on reading and mathematics) between intervention and control groups measured in SD units, comparing cohort 1 (intervention) with cohorts 2 and 3 (control) at the end of program year 1 and comparing cohort 2 (intervention) with cohort 3 (control) at the end of program year 2. The secondary outcome was 2-year intervention impact, comparing ES in cohort 1 (intervention) with cohort 3 (control) at the end of program year 2. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to assess the impact of the intervention. Analysis was performed on an intention-to-treat basis. Results: Among the 2304 students included in the study, 1260 (54.7%) were girls, with a mean (SD) age of 9.4 (1.4) years. The analysis included 964 students (41 schools) in cohort 1, 775 students (41 schools) in cohort 2, and 565 students (38 schools) in cohort 3. There were 1789 Black students (77.6%), 388 Latinx students (16.8%), and 406 students in special education (17.6%). There was an overall 1-year positive impact (ES, 0.09; P = .02) as assessed by the i-Ready reading test during school year 2016-2017. Positive impact was also observed among female students (ES, 0.15; P < .001), those in special education (ES, 0.25; P < .001), and students who performed in the lowest quartile at baseline (ES, 0.28; P < .001) on i-Ready reading and among students in elementary grades on i-Ready mathematics (ES, 0.03; P < .001) during school year 2016-2017. The intervention did not show a sustained impact at 2 years or on Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers testing. Conclusions and Relevance: Students in grades 3 to 7 who received eyeglasses through a school-based vision program achieved better reading scores. Students had improved academic achievement over 1 year; however, a sustained impact was not observed after 2 years. Trial Registration: The Registry of Efficacy and Effectiveness Studies Identifier: 1573.1v1.
Guo X, Nguyen AM, Vongsachang H, Kretz AM, Mukherjee RM, Neitzel AJ, Shakarchi AF, Friedman DS, Repka MX, Collins ME. Refractive Error Findings in Students Who Failed School-based Vision Screening. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2021;:1-9.Abstract
PURPOSE: To report refractive error findings in Baltimore City schoolchildren who failed school-based vision screenings. METHODS: In this cross-sectional analysis, students pre-kindergarten through 8th grade who failed screenings during school years 2016-2019 received an eye examination, including non-cycloplegic autorefraction and visual acuity (VA) measurements. Refractive error was identified when there was at least: -0.50 diopter (D) spherical equivalent (SE) myopia, +0.50D SE hyperopia, 1.00D astigmatism, or 1.00D anisometropia in either eye. Generalized estimating equation models were used to identify factors associated with clinically significant refractive error, defined as decreased VA and more severe refractive error. RESULTS: Of 7520 students who failed screening, 6627 (88%) were analyzed. Clinically significant refractive error and any refractive error were found in 2352 (35.5%) and 5952 (89.8%) students, respectively. Mild myopia (45%, -0.50 D to <-3.00 D SE) and low astigmatism (47%, 1.00 D to <3.00 D cylinder) were the most prevalent types of refractive error. Proportions of students with myopia increased with higher grade levels (Ptrend<0.001). Myopia and astigmatism were more common in black and Latinx. Risk factors for clinically significant refractive error included higher grades (odds ratios [OR] ranged from 1.30 to 2.19 compared with 1st grade, P < .05) and Latinx ethnicity (OR = 1.31, 95%CI: 1.08-1.59). CONCLUSION: A Baltimore school-based vision program identified a substantial number of students with refractive error in a high-poverty urban community. Over 1/3 students who failed vision screening had clinically significant refractive error, with black and Latinx students at higher risk of having myopia and astigmatism.
Kretz AM, Vongsachang H, Friedman DS, Callan J, Wahl M, Mukherjee RM, Neitzel A, Collins ME. Stakeholders' Perceptions of a School-Based Eye Care Programme in Baltimore, MD. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2021;:1-10.Abstract
PURPOSE: To explore stakeholders' perceptions of a school-based vision programme (SBVP). METHODS: We conducted 20 focus groups with 105 parents and teachers at schools in Baltimore, MD, that participated in a SBVP. Facilitators used a semi-structured interview guide to discuss participants' perceptions of the SBVP. Focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded using inductive thematic analysis. RESULTS: Participant perceptions fell into three categories: benefits of school-based eye care, limitations of school-based eye care, and observation of impact. The majority of participants had positive comments about the programme; benefits included convenience (location, time, and cost), the comprehensive nature of the programme, the quality of the eyeglasses and ability to receive replacements, and a positive screening/exam experience. Limitations of programme impact were related to communication and organisation, the time to receive the glasses, missed instructional time, and uncertainty about screenings. Observations of impact included academic and classroom improvements, as well as visual and other health improvements. CONCLUSION: Parents and teachers reported mostly positive perceptions regarding the SBVP. Their appreciation for the convenience underscores that location, cost, time, and comprehensive services are crucial aspects for implementing a successful programme. To maximize impact, programs must also implement robust communication campaigns that integrate into the schools' workflow to help parents and teachers stay engaged in the process from start to finish.
Chen T, Jin L, Zhu W, Wang C, Zhang G, Wang X, Wang J, Yang K, Cochrane GM, Lamoureux EL, Friedman DS, Gilbert S, Lansingh VC, Resnikoff S, Zhao J, Xiao B, He M, Congdon N. Knowledge, attitudes and eye health-seeking behaviours in a population-based sample of people with diabetes in rural China. Br J Ophthalmol 2021;105(6):806-811.Abstract
AIMS: To assess knowledge of diabetes and acceptance of eye care among people with diabetes in rural China, to improve service uptake. METHODS: Population-based study of people in Guangdong, China, with glycosylated haemoglobin A1c≥6.5% and/or known history of diabetes. Between August and November 2014, participants answered a questionnaire (based on Delphi process/previous focus groups) on medical history, demographic characteristics, self-rated health and vision, knowledge about diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, quality of local healthcare, barriers to treatment, likely acceptance of eye exams and treatment, and interventions rated most likely to improve service uptake. Presenting visual acuity was assessed, fundus photography performed and images graded by trained graders. Potential predictors of accepting care were evaluated and confounders adjusted for using logistic regression. RESULTS: A total of 562 people (9.6% (256/5825), mean age 66.2±9.84 years, 207 (36.8%) men) had diabetes, 118 (22.3%) previously diagnosed. 'Very likely' or 'likely' acceptance of laser treatment (140/530=26.4%) was lower than for eye exams (317/530=59.8%, p<0.001). Predictors of accepting both exams and laser included younger age (p<.001) and prior awareness of diabetes diagnosis (p=0.004 and p=0.035, respectively). The leading barrier to receiving diabetes treatment was unawareness of diagnosis (409/454, 97.2%), while interventions rated most likely to improve acceptance of eye exams included reimbursement of travel costs (387/562, 73.0%), video or other health education (359/562, 67.7%) and phone call reminders (346/562, 65.3%). CONCLUSIONS: Improving diagnosis of diabetes, along with incentives, education and communication strategies, is most likely to enhance poor acceptance of diabetic eye care in this setting.
Milante RR, Guo X, Neitzel AJ, Kretz AM, Mukherjee RM, Friedman DS, Repka MX, Collins ME. Analysis of vision screening failures in a school-based vision program (2016-19). J AAPOS 2021;Abstract
BACKGROUND: Vision screenings of a school-based program were conducted in state-mandated grades (pre-kindergarten [pre-K] or kindergarten [K], 1st and 8th grade), and nonmandated grades (2nd to 7th). METHODS: During school years 2016-19, 51,593 pre-K to 8th grade students from 123 Baltimore City Public Schools underwent vision screenings, with 85% of the schools qualifying for Free and Reduced Price Meals. Assessments included distance visual acuity, Spot photoscreening, stereopsis, and cover testing. Screening failures were analyzed by grade using aggregate data. Failure rates for mandated and nonmandated grades were compared using a logistic regression model, and visual acuity distributions were analyzed using individual data. RESULTS: Over the 3-year period, 17,414 (34%) of students failed vision screening. Failure rates by grade ranged from 28% to 38%. Children in kindergarten and 3rd grade and higher were statistically more likely to fail screening than those in 1st grade. Reduced visual acuity was the most common reason for failure (91%). Failure rates were significantly higher in nonmandated grades than in state-mandated testing grades (34.7% vs 32.5% [P < 0.001]). Mean visual acuity of all students who failed vision screening was 20/50 in the worse-seeing eye and was 20/40 in the better-seeing eye. CONCLUSIONS: One-third of students failed vision screening. High screening failure rates across all grades suggest that screening in select grade levels, as currently mandated in Maryland schools, is inadequate for detecting vision problems in the low-income communities served by this program.
Mitchell W, Marmamula S, Zebardast N, Ng W, Locascio JJ, Kumbam T, Brahmanandam S, Barrenkala NR. Psychometric validation techniques applied to the IND-VFQ-33 visual function questionnaire: the Hyderabad ocular morbidity in the elderly study (HOMES). BMC Med Res Methodol 2021;21(1):26.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Over 2 billion people suffer from vision impairment or blindness globally, and access to validated visual measurement tools in imperative in accurately describing and managing the burden of eye disease. The present study applies contemporary psychometric validation techniques to the widely used 33-item Indian Visual Function Questionnaire (IND-VFQ-33). METHODS: We first estimated the polychoric correlation between each pair of items. Next, an unrotated and oblique Promax rotated factor analysis, item response theory (IRT, using a graded response model (GRM)), and differential item functioning (DIF) testing were applied to the IND-VFQ-33. We subsequently propose a validated IND-VFQ-33 questionnaire after psychometric testing, data reduction, and adjustment. RESULTS: Exploratory unrotated factor analysis identified two factors; one with a particularly high eigenvalue (18.1) and a second with a lower eigenvalue still above our threshold (1.1). A subsequent oblique Promax factor rotation was undertaken for a 2-factor solution, revealing two moderately correlated factors (+ 0.68) with clinically discrete item loadings onto either Factor 1 (21 items; collectively labelled "daily activities") or Factor 2 (5 items; collectively labelled "bright lights"). IRT confirmed high item discrimination for all remaining items with good separation between difficulty thresholds. We found significant DIF on depression for six items in Factor 1 (all uniform DIF, except item 21 (non-uniform DIF) with no substantive difference in beta thresholds for any item and no substantive difference in expected individual or sum score, by depression at baseline. For Factor 2, only one item demonstrated significant uniform DIF on gender, similarly without major differences in beta thresholds or expected total score between gender at baseline. Consequently, no further item recalibration or reduction was undertaken after IRT and DIF analysis. CONCLUSION: Applying IRT and DIF validation techniques to the IND-VFQ-33 identified 2 discrete factors with 26 uniquely-loading items, clinically representative of difficulty performing daily activities and experiencing difficulty due to bright lights/glare respectively. The proposed modified scale may be useful in evaluating symptomatic disease progression or response to treatment in an Indian population.