ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine whether the new, primary care based, Welsh Low Vision Service (WLVS) improved access to low vision services in Wales and was effective.
The impact of the WLVS was determined by measuring the number of low vision appointments; travel time to the nearest service provider; and waiting times for low vision services for 1 year before, and for 1 year after, its establishment. Change in self-report visual function (using the 7 item NEI-VFQ), near visual acuity, patient satisfaction and use of low vision aids were used to determine the effectiveness of the service.
Following instigation of the WLVS, the number of low vision assessments increased by 51.7%, the waiting time decreased from more than 6 months to less than 2 months for the majority of people, and journey time to the nearest service provider reduced for 80% of people. Visual disability scores improved significantly (p < 0.001) by 0.79 logits and 97.42% patients found the service helpful.
The extension of low vision rehabilitation services into primary care identified a considerable unmet burden of need as evidenced by the substantial increase in the number of low vision assessments provided in Wales. The new service is effective and exhibits improved access.
Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 07/2010; 30(4):358-64. · 1.58 Impact Factor