Decrease in Low Vision Service Observed in the Netherlands


This downward trend in LVS was suggested to be a product of decreased distribution of patients treated with intravitreal injections.

Miriam Stolwijk, PhD

Miriam Stolwijk, PhD

A decrease in low vision service (LVS) uptake was suggested to be a product of decreased distribution of patients treated with intravitreal injections (IVI) and patients with lens-related diseases within LVS in a new investigation from Amsterdam.

Interview The findings from this study were presented this week at the Netherlands Ophthalmological Society Annual Congress.

An investigative team led by Miriam Stolwijk of Amsterdam University Medical Centers utilized claims data of all visually impaired adults who received LVS from 2015-2018 to identify the parameters associated with an ongoing downward trend in LVS uptake in the Netherlands.

The data were culled from a large Dutch health insurance claims database Vektis CV, and included detailed statistics and socio-demographic, clinical, and contextual characteristics in addition to general health-care utilization.

Stolwijk and colleagues also applied general estimating questions to their study to determine trends in characteristics over time.

During this 3 year period, investigators found that 726 patients, many of whom were 65 years or older (53%) had received LVS, though the number of patients who utilized theses services decreased by 15% over time.

Patients who used LVS were predominantly females (54%) of middle (38%) and low (38%) socioeconomic status who lives in urban areas (68%).

Among these patients, 66% had physical comorbidity, 55% utilized ophthalmic care, and comparably lower percentage of patients used low vision aids (29%) and occupational therapy (7%).

Patients with macular-related diseases (36%) tended to used ophthalmic medical specialist care and-on average- 17% were treated with intravitreal injections.

Notably, significant trends for treatment with IVIs, lens-related diseases, physical comorbidity, and the utilization of ophthalmic care, low vision aids and occupational therapy were observed through 2015-2018.

“This might indicate enhanced access to LVS when treated by ophthalmologists or other medical specialists,” the team wrote.

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