Purpose. To determine risk-taking propensity of optometrists and the association with the volume of contact lens practice and prescribing profile. Other factors associated with high practitioner risk taking and larger volume contact lens practices were also investigated.
Methods. Sixty-four practitioners were recruited through Australian professional associations. Practitioners completed a risk-taking propensity survey and rated the importance of risk factors for contact lens-related microbial keratitis on prescribing decisions and wearer advice (prescribing profile). Demographics and the number of contact lens wearers seen per week were documented. Risk-taking propensity was estimated after adjusting for item difficulty using Rasch analysis, then scaled 0 to 100. Prescribing profile, practice type, practitioner age, and gender were tested for association with risk-taking propensity. Risk-taking propensity, practitioner age, personal contact lens wear, and the socioeconomic status of the practice location were investigated for association with the volume of contact lens patients with regression.
Results. Rasch analysis of the risk-taking questionnaire indicated good person separation and reliability (2.44, 0.86) but some item redundancy (1.69, 0.74). Risk taking (mean 35, range 0 to 71) was associated with increasing number of contact lens patients (p = 0.02). The perceived importance of risk factors (p = 0.9) and likelihood of discussing them with patients (p = 0.7) were not associated with risk-taking propensity. Risk taking (p = 0.02) and socioeconomic status of the practice location (p = 0.03) were predictors of higher volume contact lens practices.
Conclusions. Practitioners who see a higher volume of contact lens patients tend to have higher risk-taking personalities. However, increased risk taking did not affect the perceived importance and type of advice given to contact lens wearers. Higher socioeconomic status of the practice location is also associated with larger volume of contact lens patients. This information gives insight into what drives higher volume contact lens practice within Australia and may have applications to the contact lens and wider optical industry.