(HealthDay)—Few patients with irreversible vision impairment are referred for vision rehabilitation, according to a study published online March 15 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

M. Austin Coker, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues examined the rate of referral for low-vision services by resident and attending ophthalmologists for adults with irreversible vision impairment. A total of 143 adults aged 18 years or older seen in a publicly funded comprehensive eye clinic and with one or both eyes with irreversible vision impairment were enrolled.

The researchers found that the rate of referral for low-vision rehabilitation services was 11.4 and 1.9 percent for patients with irreversible bilateral vision impairment and unilateral impairment, as noted in the electronic health record. Most patients with bilateral and unilateral impairment indicated being bothered by their vision impairment (91.2 and 92.8 percent, respectively); most reported difficulty with reading (97.1 and 81.7 percent with bilateral and unilateral impairment, respectively).

"Results of this study suggest a need to better educate ophthalmologists and residents in ophthalmology about referrals to low-vision rehabilitation services for with irreversible impairment," the authors write.

More information: Abstract/Full Text

Journal information: JAMA Ophthalmology