Eye care professionals (ECPs) may frequently discuss routine eye examination guidelines with their patients, but many fail to undergo yearly eye examinations themselves, according to research published in Eye & Contact Lens.
Researchers included anonymous questionnaire responses from 98 ECPs (mean age, 41.9 years; mean, 13.3 years practice; 60% women), who reported ocular conditions, refractive error, and the frequency of eye examination. ECPs included technicians (n=50), ophthalmologists (n=27), ophthalmology residents (n=7), optometrists (n=6), and eye care administrators (n=8).
Dry eye disease (36.7 %) was the most commonly reported ocular condition, followed by cataract (5.1%), amblyopia (3.1%), and strabismus (2.0%). A total of 61.2% of respondents reported myopia, a refractive error that was significantly more common among clinicians compared with staff members (75.0% vs 51.7%; P =.02). Support staff had a significantly higher prevalence of hyperopia compared with clinicians (19.0% vs 5.0%; P =.045).
A total of 42.9% of ECPs reported undergoing routine eye examinations within the past year, 28.6% stated they had examinations with in the last 1 to 2 years, 14.3% admitted they had an exam within the last 3 to 5 years, and 10.2% had not had a routine examination in over 5 years. A total of 4.1% reported never having had an eye examination before.
Overall, staff members were more likely to report having routine eye examinations compared with clinicians within the past 1 year (mean, 0.86 vs 0.43 exams, respectively; P =.003) and 5 years (2.81 vs 1.75, respectively; P =.01).
“Health care workers often witness the negative outcomes related to delays in diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions,” according to the study authors. “Despite these daily reminders that emphasize the importance of preventative care, recent studies suggest that few health care providers prioritize their own health needs.”
A younger age of study participants, which may have excluded some individuals with cataracts or glaucoma, and is an acknowledged limitation to the research.
Sherry EG, Lewis KE, Azeez LS, Mojica D, Kheirkhah A. Level of eye care among eye care providers themselves. Eye Contact Lens. Published online May 23, 2023. doi:10.1097/ICL.0000000000001002