Although reading-related concerns remain the top reason individuals with low vision frequent low vision clinics, this trend is decreasing while technology-related visits are becoming more common, according to a study published in Optometry and Vision Science.
Researchers performed an automated keyword search of patient complaints from 2 low vision clinics to identify longitudinal trends in why individuals attend low vision clinics. Electronic health records from 3470 exams from 2009 to 2019 were evaluated to identify topics discussed during the case history and types of rehabilitative devices assessed.
The most common discussion topic was reading — which played a role in 78% of visits, followed by light-related issues (71%) and technological concerns (59%). Although reading remained the most popular topic during the entire study duration, reading-related discussions trended downward (Odds Ratio [OR], 0.57; P =.026), while discussions regarding technology (OR, 4.53), social interaction (OR, 3.31), mobility (OR, 2.71), and driving (OR, 1.95) trended upward (all P <.001).
Tinted lenses were the most frequently assessed devices (95%). Video magnifier (OR, 0.64; P =.004) and spectacle assessments (OR, 0.72; P =.035) trended downward, while the assessment of other aids, including handheld magnifiers, handheld telescopes, and head-borne optical devices increased.
“[T]he increasing prevalence of mobile technology has changed the nature of daily life, which presents both new benefits and new challenges,” according to the study authors. “These shifts in daily life are a prime example of why it is essential for low vision care providers to keep up to date on emerging technologies.”
Study limitations include a retroscopic nature, potential geographical bias, and an inability to understand the context of the keywords that were used in the electronic records search.
Nguyen JD, Tan S, Azenkot S, Chu MA, Cooper EA. Longitudinal trends in case histories and rehabilitative device assessments at low vision exams. Optom Vis Sci. Published online October 25, 2022. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000001953