RESEARCH ARTICLE


Barriers to Low Vision Services Among Optometrists in Saudi Arabia



Ali M. Alsaqr1, *
1 Department of Optometry, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


© 2020 Ali M. Alsaqr.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Optometry, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Tel: 00966553497786; Fax: 00966114693536; E-mail: aalsaqr@ksu.edu.sa


Abstract

Introduction:

This study identifies the barriers and challenges to the provision of low vision services among practicing optometrists in Saudi Arabia.

Methods:

In this study, a self-administered online structured survey for practicing optometrists was used. Responses were collected to understand the number and percentage of low vision service providers, level of awareness, and barriers to the provision of low vision services.

Results:

This study included 154 (79 females and 75 males) practicing optometrists. They were from the five regions of Saudi Arabia (23 cities). The age of the practitioners ranged from 22 to 54 years. They had Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Forty-four participants (30%) provided low vision services. The major barriers reported were lack of training (87%), lack of awareness about low vision services (76%), lack of availability of low vision devices (70%), lack of motivation (65%), low vision services being time-consuming (55%), being busy in providing general optometry (65%), and lack of financial sources (31%).

Conclusion:

Building an efficient model for low vision rehabilitation in Saudi Arabia is needed. Moreover, encouraging more optometrists to be involved in low vision rehabilitation is necessary. There is also a need for more low vision education, national health coverage of patients with low vision, and better collaboration between low vision service providers.

Keywords: Optometrist, Eye care, Low vision, Rehabilitation, Visual impairment, Barriers, Constraints.