Comparison of open-ended and close-ended questions to determine signs and symptoms of eye problems among children

Ai Hong Chen, Nurul Farhana Abu Bakar, Carly Siu Yin Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Parents play important role in providing information regarding their children's health status to healthcare providers. However, parents’ ability in reporting signs and symptoms of eye problems among their children required more in-depth investigation. Our study aimed to compare the differences of parental report regarding eye problems among their children using two different question approaches. Methods: A total of 416 parents with children aged between two months old and 17 years old were participated in this cross-sectional survey. The responses of parents’ observation on signs and symptoms of eye problems were compared between one open-ended question and ten close-ended questions. We also examined the demographic contributing factors that could influence parental responses. Results: The total count of reported signs and symptoms through open-ended and close-ended question was 164 and 529 reports, respectively. Parents reported more diverse (70% higher) categories of signs and symptoms in open-ended compared to close-ended questions. Parent's ability to report eye problems using open-ended question was associated with their gender (p < 0.05), but no similar significant association was found in close-ended questions. Conclusion: Parents reported more signs and symptoms of eye problems among their children through close-ended questions (regardless of gender) and more diversified categories through open-ended question in this study suggested that different communication approaches might be needed in clinical practice between those who requested specific appointment and those attending screening or routine assessment. The discrepancy might imply the importance to enhance the parent's role in preventive eye care. Effective communication between eyecare providers and parents has the potential to improve paediatric eyecare delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Optometry
Issue number2
Early online date16 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Close-ended question
  • Open-ended question
  • Paediatric eye care
  • Visual signs
  • Visual symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Optometry

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