Prevalence of Eye Conditions, Utilization of Eye Health Care Services, and Ophthalmic Medications After Entering Residential Aged Care in Australia

Jyoti Khadka, Julie Ratcliffe, Gillian E. Caughey, Steve L. Wesselingh, Maria C. Inacio

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Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to evaluate the burden and trends of eye diseases, utilisation of eye health care services, and ophthalmic medications among older people living in residential aged care facilities in Australia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using data from the Registry of Senior Australians. Individuals aged ≥65 years who entered permanent residential aged care facilities between 2008 and 2015 were included. The prevalence (95% confidence interval [CI]) of eye diseases by year, eye health care services, and ophthalmic medication use within a year of entry into the service were evaluated. Poisson regression models estimated adjusted rate of change using prevalence ratio (PR) by age, sex, state, and frailty scores. Results: Of the 409,186 people studied, 43.6% (N = 178,367) had an eye condition. Of the total cohort, 32.9% (N = 134,566) had chronic eye conditions and 19.7% (N = 80,661) had an acute eye condition. Common chronic eye conditions were glaucoma (13.6%, N = 55,830), cataract (8%, (N = 32,779), blindness (4.5%, N = 18,856), and poor vision (10.3%, N = 42,245). Prevalence of any eye condition (2008: 42.7%, 95% CI = 42.2%-43.2% and 2015: 41.2%, 95% CI = 40.8-41.6%, PR = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.99-0.99, P < 0.001), acute eye conditions (2008: 19.8%, 95% CI = 19.4%-20.2% and 2015: 17.4%, 95% CI = 17.1%-17.6%, PR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.97-0.98, P < 0.001), and blindness (2008: 5.2%, 95% CI = 5.0%-5.4% and 2015: 3.7%, 95% CI = 3.5%-3.9%, PR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.93-0.94, p < 0.001). decreased over the study period. The prevalence of glaucoma (2008: 13.5%, 95% CI = 13.2%-13.8% and 2015: 13.8%, 95% CI = 13.5%-13.7%; PR = 1.01, 95% CI = 0.99-1.10, P < 0.001) and cataract (2008: 7.4%, 95% CI = 7.2%-7.7% and 2015: 8.5%, 95% CI = 8.3%-8.7%, PR = 1.00, 95% CI = 1.00-1.01, P < 0.001) remained stable or slightly increased. Overall, 46.4% (N = 82,769) of individuals with eye conditions, accessed at least one eye health service within the first year of entering residential care and 70.5% (N = 125,673) used at least one ophthalmic medication. Optometric services (41.7%, N = 74,358) were the most used eye health care services and anti-infective eye drops (37.2%, N = 66,331) were the most commonly dispensed medications. Conclusions: The prevalence of blindness among older Australian using residential aged care services decreased over the study period. However, the burden of eye diseases remained high between 2008 and 2015, whereas the use of eye health care services was disproportionately low. This study provides evidence of a significant need for eye health care services for older people with an eye disease in residential aged care facilities. Translational Relevance: Four in ten long term aged care residents in Australia had at least one eye condition over the study period, indicating potential for a high eye health care needs in aged care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages14
JournalTranslational Vision Science & Technology
Volume10
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • aged care
  • Australia
  • eye diseases
  • health services
  • ophthalmic medications

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