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Unregistered visual impairment: is registration a failing system?
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  1. R J Barry,
  2. P I Murray
  1. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Professor P I Murray Academic Unit of Ophthalmology, Division of Immunity and Infection, University of Birmingham, Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham B18 7QU, UK; p.i.murraybham.ac.uk

Abstract

Background/aims: To assess the current level of under-registration of blindness and partial sight among patients attending a large teaching hospital, and to determine any risk factors for under-registration.

Methods: Medical records of all patients attending general ophthalmology outpatient clinics over a 3 month period were included in a retrospective analysis of registration rates; questionnaire survey assessing the level of knowledge of registration practices among 35 ophthalmologists working in the West Midlands.

Results: 146/2161 (7%) patients were eligible for blind or partial sight registration, or were in possession of a completed BD8 form. Of these 146 patients, 65 (45%) were unregistered with 18 fulfilling the criteria for blind and 47 for partially sight. In addition, 32/81 (40%) registered patients appeared to have been inappropriately registered. Partially sighted patients were more likely to be unregistered than blind patients (OR 2.31, 95% CI 1.15 to 4.63, p = 0187), and patients from ethnic minorities were more than three times more likely to be unregistered than white patients (OR 3.23, 95% CI 1.56 to 6.65, p = 0.0015). A patient with a treatable condition was more likely to be unregistered than a patient with an untreatable condition (OR 4.87, 95% CI 2.10 to 11.33, p = 0.0002). The overall level of knowledge of registration practices among doctors was found to be low and there was no indication of increasing knowledge with increasing experience.

Conclusions: There has been little improvement in registration rates of visually impaired patients over the past decade. Ophthalmologists lack the necessary knowledge to cater for visually impaired patients’ needs.

  • BMEC, Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre
  • BST, basic specialist training
  • DoH, Department of Health
  • HST, higher specialist training
  • PS, partially sighted
  • RNIB, Royal National Institute for the Blind
  • blind
  • partial sight
  • registration
  • BMEC, Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre
  • BST, basic specialist training
  • DoH, Department of Health
  • HST, higher specialist training
  • PS, partially sighted
  • RNIB, Royal National Institute for the Blind
  • blind
  • partial sight
  • registration

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