"It is time for pediatric ophthalmologists to reassess how best to screen and treat their smallest, frailest patients," said Dr. Flynn.
Since 1942, when the use of medically pure oxygen was introduced, doctors have been able to save many more premature babies. But the treatment has also contributed to an epidemic of ROP-related blindness and vision loss in the US and other countries that provide neonatal intensive care. ROP vision loss occurs due to abnormal growth and function of blood vessels that nourish the retina, the light-sensitive area in the back of the eye where images are formed for relay to the brain's visual cortex.
Long Wait Times, Interpreter Problems Impact Care, Glaucoma Clinic Patients Say
In the first study of its kind in the US, researchers asked San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) glaucoma clinic patients about their reasons for missing follow-up appointments with their ophthalmologists. Poor glaucoma follow-up is a widespread problemespecially among medically underserved groupsthat leads to unnecessary vision loss. The study also investigated whether barriers were linked to ethnicity. Bradford W. Lee, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, led the joint project by Stanford and University of California, San Francisco, Department of Ophthalmology.
"Many eye care professionals assume these patients skip appointments because of financial problems, insurance issues, or lack of understanding of the need for follow-up care," said Dr. Lee, "but our results show other factors are more important, and that barriers vary somewhat with patient ethnicity."
The most vexing issues were long clinic wait times and appointment-scheduling difficulties, according to the 152 SFGH clinic patients surveyed from August 2008 to January 2009. Seventy-five percent of patients cited long wait times as a significant barrier. A
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American Academy of Ophthalmology