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Ophthalmologic assessments in patients with newly diagnosed sarcoidosis: an observational study from a universal healthcare system


Introduction — Consensus guidelines for the management of sarcoidosis recommend screening eye examinations for all patients, even in those without ocular symptoms. We aimed to determine the proportion of sarcoidosis patients that complete ophthalmologic evaluations and factors associated with their performance.

Methods — We identified patients with sarcoidosis using population health services data from Ontario, Canada between 1991 and 2019. Sarcoidosis was defined by ≥ 2 physician visits for sarcoidosis within a two-year period. Ophthalmologic evaluations were based on an optometrist or ophthalmologist visit within the year prior or two years following the diagnosis. We estimated correlations between the number of eye care professionals and proportion of sarcoidosis patients completing ophthalmologic assessments within regional health units. We evaluated for associations between ophthalmologic screening and patient characteristics using multivariable logistic regression.

Results — We identified 21,679 patients with sarcoidosis in Ontario. An ophthalmologic evaluation was performed in 14,751 (68.0%), with a similar number of individuals seeing ophthalmologists and optometrists (43.7% vs. 42.2%). The percentage of sarcoidosis patients undergoing an ophthalmologic evaluation within corresponding regional health units was moderately correlated with the number of practicing ophthalmologists (r = 0.64, p=0.01), but not the number of optometrists (r = 0.08, p = 0.77). Patients who were older [OR per year 1.02 (95% CI 1.01-1.02), p<0.001] and female [OR 1.54 (95% CI 1.44-1.63), p<0.001] were more likely to complete ophthalmologic evaluations. Immigrants to Canada were less likely to undergo ophthalmologic assessments [OR 0.66 (95% CI 0.60-0.73), p<0.001].

Conclusions — Most patients with sarcoidosis complete ophthalmologic examinations, though a substantial proportion does not. Young adults, men and immigrants were less likely to complete ophthalmologic evaluations. Limited access to ophthalmologists may at least in part explain why some sarcoidosis patients fail to complete ophthalmologic screening.



Fidler LM, Balter M, Fisher JH, To T, Kohly R, Gershon AS. Respir Med. 2021; 187:106575. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

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