Navigating access to eye care requires that patients recognize the need for screening and care, employ limited financial and social resources, manage complex health insurance policies, and access specialty clinical care. We investigated the experience of patients through the progression of vision loss to blindness, utilizing qualitative methods. We conducted structured telephone interviews with 28 persons with blindness throughout Oregon. Utilizing closed and open-ended questions, we explored patient experience on the events preceding avoidable blindness. Coding for emergent themes was conducted independently by two researchers using a constant comparative method. Participants described important barriers to accessing eye care: at the systems level, lack of access to providers and treatment; at the community level, available social support and services; and at the individual level, readiness to act and trust in providers. These findings suggest that important barriers to accessing preventive eye care, early diagnosis and treatment, vocational rehabilitation, and social services often occur at multiple levels. Access to eye care should be prioritized in efforts to reduce preventable visual impairment.
Blindness, Access to Care, Patient Perspective, Qualitative Research
This research was supported by unrestricted departmental funding from Research to Prevent Blindness (New York, NY) and by grant P30 EY010572 from the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD). We would also like to thank the study participants for taking time to talk with us and trusting us with your stories.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.
Recommended APA Citation
Zaback, T., Lam, S., Randall, J., Field, T., & Brinks, M. V. (2020). Access to Eye Care Before and After Vision Loss: A Qualitative Study Investigating Eye Care Among Persons Who Have Become Blind. The Qualitative Report, 25(6), 1473-1488. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2020.4180