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Factors Affecting Eye Care–Seeking Behavior of Parents for Their Children

Balasubramaniam, Sudharsanam M.*; Kumar, Divya Senthil; Kumaran, Sheela Evangeline; Ramani, Krishna Kumar

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000010
Original Articles

Purpose: Most of the causes of childhood blindness are either treatable or preventable. Eye care–seeking behavior (ESB) of parents for their children plays a pivotal role in reducing this problem. This study was done because there was a sparsity of literature in this context and with a view to help eye care professionals plan better programs and to identify factors facilitating and/or hindering ESB of parents for their school-going children in an urban area.

Methods: This study adopted a qualitative snapshot narrative study design. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted in areas of Chennai with parents and eye care professionals selected through stratified purposive sampling. Parents were based on those who sought care and did not seek care after a school eye screening program and on their socioeconomic status. Data were transcribed to English, familiarized, and inductive coded, and themes were formed. Redundancy was considered as end point of data collection.

Results: Two focus group discussions and 11 in-depth interviews were conducted. Squint, redness or watering of eyes, eye irritation, headache, family history of ocular diseases, severity, and repetitiveness of symptoms facilitate parents seeking eye care for their wards/children. Economic status was an important barrier reported to affect the ESB. Logistic factors like taking appointment with doctor, taking leave from work, transport, and traveling distance were noted.

Conclusions: This study shows the facilitating factors and barriers for ESB of the Chennai urban parents for their wards. The results suggest that efforts needed to be put to overcome the barriers through planned awareness programs.

*MD, MPH

MPhil (Optom)

MPhil (Optom), PhD

Elite School of Optometry, Medical Research Foundation, Chennai, India in collaboration with Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, India (SMB, DSK, SEK, KKR) and SRM University, Chennai, India (DSK).

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Sudharsanam Manni Balasubramaniam Elite School of Optometry (Appukutty Campus) 8, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount Chennai-600016 India e-mail: mbsudharshan@gmail.com

© 2013 American Academy of Optometry