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Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury-related Ocular Injury and Vision Dysfunction: Vision Rehabilitation Utilization.
Winkler SL, Marszalek J, Wang X, Finch D, Rakoczy C, Delikat J, Kelleher V, Williams M, Zuniga E, Rice C, Pollard K, Cockerham G. Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury-related Ocular Injury and Vision Dysfunction: Vision Rehabilitation Utilization. Optometry and vision science : official publication of the American Academy of Optometry. 2022 Jan 1; 99(1):3-8.
Visual dysfunction is frequently associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although evidence regarding the prevalence of symptoms of this population has been published, little is known about health care utilization. A retrospective review of the data derived from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)-mandated "Traumatic Brain Injury Specific Ocular Health and Visual Functioning Examination for Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center Patients" provided a unique opportunity to investigate vision rehabilitation utilization.
The purpose of this study was to understand (a) the frequency of vision rehabilitation follow-up visits at 6, 12, and 24 months; (b) the association between follow-up and demographic, comorbidity, and severity of TBI covariates as well as ocular and visual symptoms, geographic access, and evaluating facility; and (c) why some veterans did not follow up with recommendations.
Retrospective and survey designs were used. The sample included 2458 veterans who served in the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom conflicts and received care at one of the five VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2017. Quantitative and qualitative descriptive analyses and stepwise logistic regression were performed.
About 60% of veterans followed up with recommended vision rehabilitation with visits equally split between VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers and community VA facilities. For each 10-year increase in age, there was a corresponding reduction of 12% in the odds of follow-up. Veterans with decreased visual field had 50% greater odds of follow-up than those who did not. Veterans with difficulty reading had 59% greater odds of follow-up than those who did not. Those who had a double vision had 45% greater odds of follow-up than those who did not.
Our findings suggest that the need for vision rehabilitation may extend as long as 2 years after TBI. Access to vision rehabilitation is complicated by the paucity of available neuro-optometric services.