Motivators and deterrents for seeking eye care in a Canadian region

TitleMotivators and deterrents for seeking eye care in a Canadian region
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSpafford, M., A. Sivak, L. Lillakas, and E. Irving
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Keywordseye-care deterrents, eye-care literacy, eye-care motivators, seeking eye care

Background: Motivators and deterrents for seeking eye care in a Canadian setting were sought using a qualitative study. Provincial deregulation of eyewear dispensing in 2010 allows consumers to order eyewear without an optical prescription, thus eliminating a potential motivator for obtaining an eye examination. Methods: Convenience sampling was used to obtain 25 members of the public who contributed to one of seven focus groups that were facilitated, audiotaped, anonymised and transcribed. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire. Focus group data analysis employed grounded theory and theme saturation determined the number of focus groups. Results: Nine men and 16 women participated, ranging in age from 18 to 71 years (mean 41.5; median 40.0). Three main themes were identified as influencers for seeking eye care: priority; advice; and capacity. Priority served as a motivator (‘lived experience’, ‘symptoms’, and ‘habit’) and deterrent (‘test distress’, ‘asymptomatic’, ‘don't know’ and ‘other priorities’). Advice was a motivator (‘professional’ and ‘family/friends’), while capacity was a motivator (‘insurance’) and deterrent (‘cost’). Conclusion: The motivators and deterrents of seeking eye care in these focus groups were framed by three themes. Key findings not reported previously included the motivators of ‘habit’, ‘advice’ and ‘insurance’ and the potential deterrent of ‘test distress’. These factors should be added to other previously reported motivators and deterrents in further exploration of Canadian eye-care seeking behaviours. Such knowledge is needed to develop strategies for improving eye-care literacy in Canada. This is particularly important because eyewear deregulation and/or online eye examinations may encourage members of the public to bypass comprehensive eye care without fully understanding the implications of this decision for their health and wellness. © 2019 Optometry Australia