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

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 19:49 authored by Staffieri, SE, G Rees, Sanfilippo, PG, Cole, S, Mackey, DA, Alexander HewittAlexander Hewitt

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.


Publication title

Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology






Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Blackwell Publishing Asia

Place of publication

54 University St, P O Box 378, Carlton, Australia, Victoria, 3053

Rights statement

Copyright 2020© Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions

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