Background: We previously found that compliance with occlusion therapy for amblyopia is poor, especially among children of non-native parents who spoke Dutch poorly and who were low educated. We investigated conception, awareness, attitude, and actions to deal with noncompliance among Dutch orthoptists.
Methods: Orthoptists working in non-native, low socioeconomic status (SES) areas and a selection of orthoptists working elsewhere in the Netherlands were studied. They were observed in their practice, received a structured questionnaire, and underwent a semi-structured interview. Finally, a short survey was sent to all working orthoptists in the Netherlands.
Results: Nine orthoptists working in non-native, low-SES areas and 23 working elsewhere in the Netherlands participated. One hundred and fifty-one orthoptists returned the short survey. Major discrepancies existed in conception, awareness, and attitude. Opinions differed on what should be defined as noncompliance and on what causes noncompliance. Some orthoptists found noncompliance annoying, unpleasant, and hard to imagine, others were more understanding. Many pitied the noncompliant child. Almost all thought that the success of occlusion therapy lies both with the parents and the orthoptist, but one third thought that noncompliance was not solely their responsibility. Patients' compliance was estimated at 69.3% in non-native, low-SES areas (electronically, 52% had been measured), at 74.1% by the other 23 orthoptists, and at 73.8% in the short survey. Actions to improve compliance were diverse; some increased occlusion hours whereas others decreased them. In non-native, low-SES areas, 22% spoke Dutch moderately to none; the allotted time for a patient's first visit was 21'; the time spent on explaining to the parents was 2'30" and to the child 10". In practices of the other 23 orthoptists, 6% spoke Dutch moderately to none (P<0.0001), the time for a patient's first visit was 27'24" (P=0.47), and the periods spent explaining were 2'51" (P=0.59) and 26" (P=0.17), respectively.
Conclusion: Conception, awareness, attitude, and actions to deal with noncompliance varied among orthoptists. In non-native, low-SES areas, time spent on explanation was shorter, despite a lower fluency in Dutch among the parents.