Purpose: The American Optometric Association's Optometric Clinical Practice Guidelines identify appropriate utilization strategies for eye and vision examinations. Optometrists, like all health care providers, should follow the recommended standard of care as a doctor and as a patient. The purpose of this survey was to evaluate if optometrists seek and recommend the standard of vision care.
Method: A survey was mailed to 650 randomly selected optometrists in the states of Oregon and Washington. The survey provided data describing the optometrists' personal demographics, medical conditions, visual conditions, and utilization of vision care. Additional data included a survey of the optometrists' recommendation of preventive eye care for their patients.
Results: A 41% response rate was achieved from the mailing. In evaluating the data from optometrists who reported no ocular or medical conditions, the data show that 70% of the doctors surveyed, between the age of twenty and forty, have met the AOA guidelines recommendation of having a refraction, anterior segment exam, posterior segment exam, and intraocular pressure measurement within the recommended three year interval. Sixty-four percent of the doctors surveyed, between the age of forty-one and sixty, have met the AOA guidelines recommendation of having all of the procedures listed performed within the past two years. Of the doctors surveyed over the age of sixty, 36% have met the AOA guidelines of having all the procedures listed performed within the past year. With respect to preventive vision care for their patients, 90% of doctors, of all ages, reported that they recommend the AOA guidelines recommendation for their patients between the age of twenty and forty. Eighty-one percent of doctors, of all ages, reported recommending the AOA guidelines to their patients between the age of forty-one and sixty. Of those doctors surveyed, 30% of the respondents recommend the AOA guidelines to their patients over the age of sixty.
Conclusion: Most optometrists' personal eye care is consistent with the AOA Optometric Clinical Practice Guidelines. Most optometrists are recommending to their patients care intervals that are consistent with these guidelines. However, optometrists over the age of sixty are not seeking the standard of vision care recommended by the AOA guidelines and optometrists off all ages are not recommending the AOA guidelines to their patients over the age of sixty. It is recommended that all optometrists be educated as to the reason for the frequency of optometric examinations for themselves as well as for their patients over the age of sixty.
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