Purpose: To evaluate factors associated with attendance to follow-up ophthalmic care, and to assess the impact of strategies to improve follow-up. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: This is an ongoing study to develop an eye screening paradigm, focusing on African Americans ≥50 years of age at multiple urban community sites in Baltimore, Maryland. Several strategies were employed aiming to increase follow-up attendance rates. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the associations between demographic, medical, and ocular factors with follow-up rate. Results: The total number of referred patients presenting for a free eye examination (attendance rate) during the first phase, during the second phase, and overall was 686 (55.0%), 199 (63.8%), and 885 (57.0%), respectively. In fully adjusted models, the odds ratio (95% confidence intervals) for attending the follow-up visit was 1.82 (1.19, 2.79) for screening in second phase vs first phase, 0.62 (0.39, 0.99) for screening sites that were 3 to <5 miles vs <1 mile from the hospital, 1.70 (1.12, 2.59) in patients with body mass index ≥ 30 vs < 25 kg/m2, 2.03 (1.28, 3.21) in patients with presenting visual acuity < 20/40 vs ≥ 20/40, and 2.32 (1.24, 4.34) for patients with an abnormal vs normal macula. Conclusions: Obesity, short distance between screening sites and hospital, poor presenting visual acuity in the better eye, and an abnormal macula on fundus photography were associated with increased follow-up rate. Implementation of a combination of strategies effectively increased the follow-up rate. Wider adoption of these strategies in other screening programs has the potential to reduce the burden of visual impairment.
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