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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 2179-2184

Identifying barriers to referrals in preschool-age ocular screening in Southern India

Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Squint Services, Aravind Eye Hospital, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Meenakshi Ravindran
Aravind Eye Hospital, S N HIGH Road, Tirunelveli - 627 001, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1603_19

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to identify barriers to follow-up among children aged 0–5 years who failed ocular screening. Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted for screening children aged 0–5 years, covering three districts of South India from January 2012 to December 2012. Screening was performed under Lavelle Paediatric Eye Care Project, included under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program. A survey was conducted within 60 days of the screening, with the parents of children who failed to follow up at base hospital. Family demographics, parental awareness of childhood eye diseases and eye care for children, and barriers to follow up eye care were assessed. Results: A total of 19,408 children were screened. Among them, 913 (4.7%) failed screening and were referred. 319 (35%) of those referred attended the base hospital, of which 133 (41.6%) had no abnormality on detailed examination. 111 (34.7%) had refractive errors, 10 (3%)) had strabismus, and three (1%) had amblyopia. 62 (19.4%) had other ocular conditions. Parents of 324/594 (65%) children who did not attend the base hospital were traced and completed the questionnaire. Low level of education, low income, types of occupation, and distance factors were the main barriers to follow-up of referral in preschool children. Factors such as cost of time taking off from work and monthly family income were statistically significant (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Education, financial status, and distance factors were the main barriers to follow up of referral in preschool children. Identification of these barriers to follow up and improving the referral services could help in detecting visual problem effectively.

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