Barriers to Follow-Up and Strategies to Improve Adherence to Appointments for Care of Chronic Eye Diseases

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015 Jul;56(8):4324-31. doi: 10.1167/iovs.15-16444.


Purpose: To understand factors associated with poor attendance of follow-up appointments for care of glaucoma (GL), AMD, and diabetic retinopathy (DR) in a tertiary referral center, and to identify strategies to improve adherence.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of 240 adults attending follow-up appointments for GL, AMD, or DR. Cases (N = 102) were patients with poor follow-up who missed and failed to reschedule an appointment within 1 month of the recommended follow-up date during the preceding year. Controls (N = 138) were patients who completed the assigned follow-up. Data regarding the factors impacting adherence to appointments were collected via an orally administered questionnaire. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to determine factors associated with poor follow-up.

Results: In a multivariate logistic regression model, independent factors significantly associated with poor follow-up included incorrectly answering more than 50% of questions about eye disease (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 3.24, P = 0.001), legal blindness (adjusted OR 2.64, P = 0.013), the presence of glaucomatous versus retinal disease (adjusted OR 2.06, P = 0.013), and difficulty for the study subject and/or escort taking time away from work for the appointments (adjusted OR 1.80, P = 0.049). Subjects identified the following strategies to improve follow-up: contact with others having the same eye condition (41.3%), greater education regarding eye disease (40.8%), and improved transportation services to the clinic (44.6%).

Conclusions: Low disease knowledge scores, legal blindness, and difficulty getting time away from work for appointments adversely impacted follow-up independent of eye disease diagnosis. Improvements in patient education, transportation services, and clinic efficiency may increase adherence to recommended appointment intervals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends
  • Eye Diseases / therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States