Improving parents' knowledge of early signs of paediatric eye disease: A double-blind randomized controlled trial

Sandra E. Staffieri, Gwyneth Rees, Paul G. Sanfilippo, Stephen Cole, David A. Mackey, Alex W. Hewitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Importance: Educating parents to recognize signs of eye disease and consult a healthcare professional is critical to timely diagnosis, intervention and outcomes. Background: We evaluate the effectiveness of an eye-health information pamphlet on parents' level of concern and help-seeking intention should they hypothetically observe leukocoria or strabismus in their child. Design: Double-blind, randomized controlled trial conducted at a metropolitan antenatal outpatient clinic. Participants: In total, 518 pregnant women were enrolled in the study. Methods: After completing a study-specific, pre-test survey describing hypothetical clinical scenarios at baseline, participants were randomly assigned to receive a pamphlet on either paediatric eye health (intervention) or infant play (control). The post-test survey was sent by email 2 weeks after baseline. Main outcome measures: A change in the parents' level of concern if they observed leukocoria or strabismus and a change in their help-seeking intention if they hypothetically observed leukocoria or strabismus in their child. Results: Of the 518 women, 382 (73.7%) completed the post-test survey. At follow-up, women who received the intervention were more likely to report a higher level of concern if they observed leukocoria (OR 1.711 [CI: 1.176-2.497] P =.005]) and were less likely to delay help-seeking (OR 0.560 [CI 0.382-0.817] P =.003). No change in the level of concern for strabismus was identified between the groups; however, at follow-up, women who received the intervention were less likely to delay help-seeking (OR 0.318 [CI 0.125-0.806] P =.016). Conclusion and relevance: Providing parents with relevant, evidence-based information can significantly improve their knowledge and positively influence help-seeking intentions if leukocoria or strabismus are observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1250-1260
Number of pages11
JournalClinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Volume48
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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