Visual Acuity Outcomes and Loss to Follow-up in the Treatment of Amblyopia in Children From Lower Socioeconomic Backgrounds

Stephen Hawn, Sean M. Yuan, Andrew R. Lee, Susan M. Culican

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

PURPOSE: To compare visual acuity outcomes and loss to follow-up after initiation of treatment for unilateral amblyopia in children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. METHODS: Medical records of children diagnosed as having unilateral amblyopia at an initial encounter between 2015 and 2018 were reviewed. Medicaid and private insurance were used as proxies for socioeconomic status (SES). Data points were collected at the patients' initial, follow-up, and final visits. Visual acuity improvement was the primary outcome variable in patients with at least one follow-up appointment. In a separate analysis, failure to attend a single follow-up appointment was examined for associations with SES, race, sex, and distance traveled to appointments. RESULTS: Seventy-three patients met the inclusion criteria; of these, 28 had Medicaid and 45 had private insurance. Visual acuity improved by 2.86 lines in the Medicaid group and 2.98 lines in the private insurance group (P = .84). Number of missed appointments and distance traveled did not correlate with visual acuity improvement. In the loss to follow-up subanalysis, 40 of 141 (28.4%) patients with Medicaid and 11 of 107 (10.3%) patients with private insurance failed to attend a single follow-up visit (P = .001). No association was found between loss to follow-up and race, sex, or distance traveled. CONCLUSIONS: Visual acuity outcomes of treatment for amblyopia did not differ between patients with Medicaid and patients with private insurance who followed up. However, patients with Medicaid were much more likely to be immediately lost to follow-up. Measures should be taken by eye care providers and pediatricians to increase follow-up in patients from low SES populations. [J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2022;59(2):110-117.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
Volume59
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

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