A retrospective big data study using healthcare insurance claims to investigate the role of comorbidities in receiving low vision services

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Introduction: The aim was to examine the association between physical and mental comorbidity with receiving low vision services (LVS). Methods: A retrospective study based on Dutch claims data of health insurers was performed. We retrieved data (2015–2018) of patients (≥18 years) with eye diseases causing severe vision loss who received LVS at Dutch rehabilitation organizations in 2018 (target group) and patients who did not receive LVS, but who received ophthalmic medical specialist care for glaucoma, macular, diabetic retinal and/or retinal diseases in 2018 (reference group). For examining the association between the patients' comorbidities and receiving LVS, multivariable logistic regression was used. The relative quality of five different models was assessed with the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). Results: The study population consisted of 574,262 patients, of which 8,766 in the target group and 565,496 in the reference group. Physical comorbidity was found in 83% and 14% had mental comorbidity. After adjustment for all assumed confounders, both physical and mental comorbidity remained significantly associated with receiving LVS. In the adjusted model, which also included both comorbidity variables, the best relative quality was found to describe the association between mental and physical comorbidity and receiving LVS. Conclusions: Mental comorbidity seemed to be independently associated with receiving LVS, implying that the odds for receiving a LVS referral are higher in patients who are vulnerable to mental comorbidity. Physical comorbidity was independently associated, however, the association with receiving LVS might not be that meaningful in terms of policy implications. Providing mental healthcare interventions for people with VI seems warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1264838
JournalFrontiers in Health Services
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • healthcare claims data
  • low vision rehabilitation
  • low vision services
  • mental comorbidity
  • physical comorbidity
  • referral
  • visual impairment

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