Older adults’ perceptions of navigating eye health care in Denmark: a qualitative study

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Background: Vision impairment can have an impact on cognition, health, and social function. Vision loss may be avoided if detected early and treated promptly. Eye health is a minor topic in general practice, but the ongoing relationship between doctor and patient has the potential to assist the patient in navigating the healthcare system and guaranteeing timely healthcare service delivery.
Aim: To explore the attitudes of older members of the public (aged ≥60 years) towards navigating primary sector eye health care in Denmark, with a focus on optometrists, practising ophthalmologists (POs), and GPs.
Design & setting: Qualitative study in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Method: Focus group interviews were performed in the spring of 2022 with 21 older members of the public.
Results: Older members of the public perceived optometrists and POs to be the most relevant health professionals to consult about eye health. Opportunities were identified for enhancing the function of general practice including detecting early signs of visual impairment, being in charge of further referrals, and managing issues affecting quality of life such as dry eyes.
Conclusion: Older members of the public sought help from health professionals who are directly qualified to treat symptoms of vision impairment that patients are experiencing or expect to face in the near future. Participants identified a potential for GPs to address vision impairment. This included focusing on the patient’s general health and function, as well as potential comorbidities influencing treatment trajectories. The current denigration of general practice risks missing out on the potential benefits of robust engagement from general practice in eye health.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2023.0118
JournalBJGP Open
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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© 2024, The Authors. All Rights Reserved.

    Research areas

  • aged, care of older people, eye, problems, qualitative research

ID: 392453021