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Optometry

Survey: Optometrist confidence in providing low-vision services

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A survey found that optometrists who do not work in low-vision services have relatively low confidence in this area, which could dissuade them from offering these services.

An online survey was distributed to a sample of members of the College of Optometrists, which garnered a response rate of 15.1% (n=452). The survey collected demographic, professional, and qualifications data and assessed optometrists’ confidence levels in different core areas of practice, including low vision. Confidence levels (rated on a scale from 0 to 10) were then compared against those who do and do not work in the low vision space.

Optometrists who did not work in a low-vision service reported significantly lower confidence in this area compared with other areas of optometric service. These individuals also reported a significantly lower confidence in all tasks related to low-vision service delivery compared with optometrists who do work in this space (P<.001 for all tasks).

Despite this, nearly 80% of respondents reported interest in learning more about and supporting patients with vision impairment, which the authors said could help increase their motivation to participate in low-vision service offerings.

The findings are limited by the low response rate and potential self-selection bias.

“Low vision service availability and accessibility must be improved as the prevalence of vision impairment increases,” the authors said. “Low professional confidence should be addressed to underpin expansion of low vision service provision by the optometric workforce and this survey provides an important part of the evidence base needed to do so.”

Reference

Gould G, Harper R, Bowen M, Dickinson C. Confidence in low vision rehabilitation and attitudes towards further learning: A survey of UK optometrists. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2024. doi:10.111/opo.13327

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