Public Health

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Burton MJ, Ramke J, Marques AP, Bourne RRA, Congdon N, Jones I, Ah Tong BAM, Arunga S, Bachani D, Bascaran C, Bastawrous A, Blanchet K, Braithwaite T, Buchan JC, Cairns J, Cama A, Chagunda M, Chuluunkhuu C, Cooper A, Crofts-Lawrence J, Dean WH, Denniston AK, Ehrlich JR, Emerson PM, Evans JR, Frick KD, Friedman DS, Furtado JM, Gichangi MM, Gichuhi S, Gilbert SS, Gurung R, Habtamu E, Holland P, Jonas JB, Keane PA, Keay L, Khanna RC, Khaw PT, Kuper H, Kyari F, Lansingh VC, Mactaggart I, Mafwiri MM, Mathenge W, McCormick I, Morjaria P, Mowatt L, Muirhead D, Murthy GVS, Mwangi N, Patel DB, Peto T, Qureshi BM, Salomão SR, Sarah V, Shilio BR, Solomon AW, Swenor BK, Taylor HR, Wang N, Webson A, West SK, Wong TY, Wormald R, Yasmin S, Yusufu M, Silva JC, Resnikoff S, Ravilla T, Gilbert CE, Foster A, Faal HB. The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health: vision beyond 2020. Lancet Glob Health 2021;9(4):e489-e551.
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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.
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 2021;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.
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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.
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Hu A, Gu SZ, Friedman DS, Cao K, Wang N. Six-Year Incidence and Causes of Low Vision and Blindness in a Rural Chinese Adult Population: The Handan Eye Study. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2021;28(2):160-168.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine the six-year incidence, risk factors, and causes of visual impairment in a Chinese population. METHODS: This was a population-based study of eye disease in Chinese adults in a rural district of Handan in China. 6,830 individuals were invited to participate in 2006 and 5,394 returned for follow-up in 2012. All participants underwent standardized eye examinations. Visual impairment was defined according to WHO criteria. The incidence of visual impairment was age- and gender-standardized to the 2010 China Census. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to determine risk factors for visual impairment. RESULTS: The leading causes of visual impairment were cataract and refractive error. Based on (PVA), the six-year incidence rates of low vision and blindness were 5.2% and 0.5%, respectively. Incidence of low vision was associated with older age ( < .001), less education ( < .001), diabetes ( < .05), and lower BMI ( < .001). The incidence of blindness was associated with diabetes ( < .05). Based on (BCVA), the six-year incidence rates of low vision and blindness were 0.8% and 0.1%, respectively. Incidence of low vision was associated with older age ( < .001) and lower BMI ( < .05). None of these factors were associated with the incidence of blindness. CONCLUSION: In Handan, the incidence of visual impairment was high and associated with older age, less education, diabetes, and lower BMI. The majority of cases were due to unoperated cataract and uncorrected refractive error, reflecting the need for improved eye care in this region.
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Keel S, Evans JR, Block S, Bourne R, Calonge M, Cheng C-Y, Friedman DS, Furtado JM, Khanna RC, Mathenge W, Mariotti S, Matoto E, Müller A, Rabiu MM, Rasengane T, Zhao J, Wormald R, Cieza A. Strengthening the integration of eye care into the health system: methodology for the development of the WHO package of eye care interventions. BMJ Open Ophthalmol 2020;5(1):e000533.Abstract
Objective: To describe the rational for, and the methods that will be employed to develop, the WHO package of eye care interventions (PECI). Methods and analysis: The development of the package will be conducted in four steps: (1) selection of eye conditions (for which interventions will be included in the package) based on epidemiological data on the causes of vision impairment and blindness, prevalence estimates of eye conditions and health facility data; (2) identification of interventions and related evidence for the selected eye conditions from clinical practice guidelines and high-quality systematic reviews by a technical working group; (3) expert agreement on the inclusion of eye care interventions in the package and the description of resources required for the provision of the selected interventions; and (4) peer review. The project will be led by the WHO Vision Programme in collaboration with Cochrane Eyes and Vision. A Technical Advisory Group, comprised of public health and clinical experts in the field, will provide technical input throughout all stages of development. Results: After considering the feedback of Technical Advisory Group members and reviewing-related evidence, a final list of eye conditions for which interventions will be included in the package has been collated. Conclusion: The PECI will support Ministries of Health in prioritising, planning, budgeting and integrating eye care interventions into health systems. It is anticipated that the PECI will be available for use in 2021.
Kempen JH, Abashawl A, Suga HK, Nigussie Difabachew M, Kempen CJ, Tesfaye Debele M, Menkir AA, Assefa MT, Asfaw EH, Habtegabriel LB, Sitotaw Addisie Y, Nilles EJ, Longenecker JC. SARS-CoV-2 Serosurvey in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2020;103(5):2022-2023.Abstract
In a serosurvey of asymptomatic people from the general population recruited from a clinical laboratory in May 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, three of 99 persons tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 IgG (3.0%, 95% binomial exact confidence interval: 0.6-8.6%). Taking into account pretest probability and the sampling scheme, the range of plausible population prevalence values was approximately 1.0-8.4%. These results suggest that a larger number of people have been infected than the counts detected by surveillance to date; nevertheless, the results suggest the large majority of the general population in Addis Ababa currently is susceptible to COVID-19.
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.
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Marmamula S, Barrenakala NR, Challa R, Kumbham TR, Modepalli SB, Yellapragada R, Bhakki M, Khanna RC, Friedman DS. Prevalence and risk factors for visual impairment among elderly residents in 'homes for the aged' in India: the Hyderabad Ocular Morbidity in Elderly Study (HOMES). Br J Ophthalmol 2021;105(1):32-36.Abstract
BACKGROUND/AIM: To investigate the prevalence, causes and risk factors of visual impairment (VI) among the elderly in 'home for the aged' in Hyderabad, India. METHODS: Individuals aged ≥60 years were recruited from 41 'homes for the aged'. All participants had complete eye examinations including presenting visual acuity, refraction, slit-lamp examination, intraocular pressure measurement and fundus imaging by trained clinicians. VI was defined as presenting visual acuity worse than 6/18 in the better eye. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine the risk factors associated with VI. RESULTS: 1512 elderly residents from 41 homes for the aged were enumerated, of whom 1182 (78.1%) were examined. The mean age of examined participants was 75.0 years (SD 8.8 years; range: 60-108 years); 35.4% of those examined were men. The prevalence of VI was 30.1% (95% CI 27.5 to 32.8). The leading cause of VI was cataract (46.3%, n=165), followed by uncorrected refractive error (27.0%, n=96), posterior capsular opacification (14.9%, n=53) and posterior segment disease (6.5%, n=23). Overall, 88.2% of the VI was either treatable or correctable. In multiple logistic regression, those aged 80 years and older (OR: 1.7, p<0.01), living in 'free' homes (OR: 1.5, p<0.01) and who were immobile/bedridden (OR: 3.02, p<0.01) had significantly higher odds of VI. Gender was not associated with VI. CONCLUSIONS: VI was common and largely avoidable in residents of 'homes for the aged' in Hyderabad, India. Screening for vision loss in 'homes for aged' and the provision of appropriate services should become routine practice to achieve the goal of healthy ageing in India.
Marmamula S, Barrenkala NR, Challa R, Kumbham TR, Modepalli SB, Yellapragada R, Bhakki M, Friedman DS, Khanna RC. Falls and visual impairment among elderly residents in 'homes for the aged' in India. Sci Rep 2020;10(1):13389.Abstract
We evaluated the prevalence of falls and their association with visual impairment (VI) in elderly residents in 'homes for the aged' in Hyderabad, India. Participants aged ≥ 60 years were recruited from 41 homes, and a comprehensive eye examination was conducted. Interviews were conducted to collect personal and demographic information, systemic health status, fear of falling, depression, and history of falls in the last year. VI categories included low vision (presenting visual acuity worse than 6/18 to 3/60) and blindness (presenting visual acuity worse than 3/60). The data of 1,074 participants were analysed. The mean age was 74.4 years (standard deviation:8.7 years); 63.9% were women, 19.4% had no formal education, 28.1% were diabetic and 56.9% were hypertensive. The annual prevalence of falls was 29.1% (95% CI: 26.4-32.0). Multivariable analysis showed those with VI had significantly higher odds of falls (Odds Ratio:1.47; p = 0.043). The prevalence of falls was higher among those with VI due to uncorrected refractive errors. We found a very high prevalence of falls in elderly individuals living in 'homes for the aged' in Hyderabad, India. Addressing VI can result in fewer falls and contribute to healthy aging in India.
Marmamula S, Mitchell W, Zebardast N, Locascio J, Barrenkala NR, Kumbham TR, Modepalli SB, Khanna RC, Friedman DS. Impact of Vision Loss on Visual Function Among Elderly Residents in the "Home for the Aged" in India: The Hyderabad Ocular Morbidity in Elderly Study. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2020;9(13):11.Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to report the association between visual impairment (VI) and self-reported visual difficulty among the elderly in residential care using the Indian Vision Functioning Questionnaire (IND-VFQ-33) psychometrically validated questionnaire. Methods: Participants aged ≥ 60 years were recruited from 41 homes in Hyderabad in South India. All participants underwent detailed eye examination and interviews. Self-reported visual function was assessed using the IND-VFQ-33 questionnaire. Factor Analysis and Item Response Theory (IRT) models were used for analysis. Multivariable regression models were used to investigate associations between derived global difficulty scores versus severity and causes of VI. Presenting visual acuity worse than 6/18 in the better eye was considered as VI. Results: In total, 867 elderly participants completed the INDVFQ-33. Two latent traits ("daily activities" and "visual symptoms") were identified on factor analysis, each with uniquely loading questions. Participants with VI reported significantly higher daily activities difficulty (6 points higher) and visual symptoms difficulty (1.7 points higher) than those without VI ( < 0.05). Those with cataract reported the highest daily activities and visual symptoms difficulty (7.6 points and 2.2 points higher, respectively, < 0.05). Greater severity of VI was associated with increased self-reported difficulty for both factors, and for all causes of VI. Conclusions: We present a psychometrically validated visual questionnaire particularly suited to older adults in residential homes. We show a significant association between cause/severity of VI and difficulty with daily activities and visual symptoms after adjusting for sociodemographic and medical factors. Translational Relevance: Understanding the impact of vision loss on visual functions in the elderly will help in planning and resource allocation for developing early intervention programs for the elderly.
Marmamula S, Barrenkala NR, Khanna RC, Challa R, Bhakki M, Kumbham TR, Modepalli SB, Yellapragada R, Friedman DS. Near vision impairment among the elderly in residential care-the Hyderabad Ocular Morbidity in Elderly Study (HOMES). Eye (Lond) 2021;35(8):2310-2315.Abstract
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: To report on the prevalence and risk factors for near vision impairment (NVI) among the elderly in residential care in Telangana State in India. METHODS: Individuals aged ≥60 years were recruited from 41 'home for the aged' centres in Hyderabad, India. All participants had complete eye examinations including presenting and best-corrected visual acuity assessment for distance and near. NVI was defined as binocular presenting near vision worse than N8 (6/15) among those who had a normal presenting distance visual acuity of 6/18 in the better eye. RESULTS: Of the 826 participants, the mean age was 74.4 years (standard deviation-8.4 years), 525 (63.6%) were women, 715 (86.6%) had at least school education. The prevalence of NVI was 51.2% (95% CI: 47.7-54.7) based on presenting vision. On applying multiple logistic regression analysis, the odds of NVI were higher in 80 years and older age (OR: 2.17; 95% CI: 3.44-13.6). Those with school education (OR: 0.58: 95% CI: 0.36-0.94) and higher education (OR: 0.38; 95% CI: 0.21-0.69) had lower odds for NVI. Similarly, those with self-reported diabetes (OR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.49-0.97), those using spectacles (OR: 0.09; 95% CI: 0.05-0.16), and those who had undergone cataract surgery (OR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.36-0.74) had lower odds for NVI. CONCLUSIONS: NVI was common among the elderly in residential care in homes for the aged in Hyderabad, India. As most of this NVI is correctable, a routine screening programme and dispensing of spectacles can be undertaken to address this vision loss.
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, Bhatia R, Zebardast N. Retrospective cross-sectional analysis of the changes in marijuana use in the USA, 2005-2018. BMJ Open 2020;10(7):e037905.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Understanding trends of marijuana use in the USA throughout a period of particularly high adoption of marijuana-legalisation, and understanding demographics most at risk of use, is important in evolving healthcare policy and intervention. This study analyses the demographic-specific changes in the prevalence of marijuana use in the USA between 2005 and 2018. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A 14-year retrospective cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database, a publicly available biennially collected national survey, weighted to represent the entire US population. A total of 35 212 adults between 18 and 69 years old participated in the seven-cycles of surveys analysed (2005-2018). PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURED: Lifetime use, first use before 18 years old, and past-year use of marijuana. RESULTS: The majority of adults reported ever using marijuana. While the overall prevalence of lifetime marijuana use remained stable (p=0.53), past-year use increased significantly between 2005 and 2018 (p<0.001) with highest rate of past-year use among younger age groups (p<0.001), males (p<0.001) and those with income below poverty level (p<0.001). Past-year use was the most common among non-Hispanic blacks, and less common among Hispanic/Mexican populations (p<0.002). Trends in past-year use increased among all age categories, males/females, all ethnicities, those with high school education/above, and those at all income levels (p<0.01 for all). CONCLUSIONS: While lifetime marijuana use remained stable, past-year use significantly increased between 2005 and 2018. While past-year use remained the most common in younger age groups, males, non-Hispanic blacks and those with lower income; increasing trends in past-year use were significant for all age, sex, race and income categories, and for those with high school education/above. With high adoption of marijuana-legalisation laws during this period, our results suggest an associated increase in past-year marijuana use.An accurate understanding of those most at risk can help to inform decisions of healthcare policy-makers and professionals, and facilitate a safe transition of changing marijuana legalisation and use in the USA.
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.
Mitchell W, Hassall M, Henderson T. Updating the model of eye care for Aboriginal populations in remote Central Australia. Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2020;48(9):1299-1306.Abstract
Eye disease is the third-highest contributor towards health inequality for Aboriginal Australians. Understanding how the Central Australian ophthalmology service addresses complexities of remote eye care is crucial in understanding how expansion can meet current and future needs. The present study analyses findings from the MEDLINE database and Governmental reports, and descriptive information from stakeholders in Central Australia and the Australian Department of Health. We describe the current Central Australian ophthalmology model at three levels; (a) the healthcare service level (specialized primary care, local/outreach optometry and ophthalmology services, and intensive extended surgical weeks), (b) the community level (local community staff, clinics and initiatives, and eye "champions" and mutual support), and (c) the healthcare system level (federal and state government, and private funding). We conclude that building full-time specialist availability, and system-wide approaches to increase patient utilisation, will facilitate overcoming barriers of remoteness, and create enduring improvements in Central Australian eye care and health-inequality.
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 2021;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.
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Naidoo K, Kempen JH, Gichuhi S, Braithwaite T, Casson RJ, Cicinelli MV, Das A, Flaxman SR, Jonas JB, Keeffe JE, Leasher J, Limburg H, Pesudovs K, Resnikoff S, Silvester AJ, Tahhan N, Taylor HR, Wong TY, Bourne RRA, of the of Study VLEGGBD. Prevalence and causes of vision loss in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015: magnitude, temporal trends and projections. Br J Ophthalmol 2020;104(12):1658-1668.Abstract
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to assess the prevalence and causes of vision loss in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in 2015, compared with prior years, and to estimate expected values for 2020. METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis assessed the prevalence of blindness (presenting distance visual acuity <3/60 in the better eye), moderate and severe vision impairment (MSVI; presenting distance visual acuity <6/18 but ≥3/60) and mild vision impairment (MVI; presenting distance visual acuity <6/12 and ≥6/18), and also near vision impairment (
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;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.
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Singh T, Ichhpujani P, Singh RB. First Line of Defense in COVID-19: Masks in Clinical Practice. Asia Pac J Public Health 2020;:1010539520979928.Abstract
The current evidence suggests that masks are efficacious in limiting the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2). Although cloth masks are effective in outdoor environments, there is a consensus about the requirement of N95 masks or respirators when working in close proximity to patients who may be asymptomatic carriers, specifically in ophthalmology clinics, where slit-lamp examinations, noncontact tonometry, and other procedures place the physicians and patients in close proximity with each other. In this report, we review the available evidence regarding the efficacy of different types of masks in clinical practice in ophthalmology.

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