Socioeconomic Disparity Persists In Use Of Eye Care Services Among U.S. Adults With Age-Related Eye Diseases
Significant differences in the use of eye care services by socioeconomic position (SEP) persist among U.S. adults with eye diseases, according to a report published by JAMA Ophthalmology, a JAMA Network publication.
Advances in the past few decades have made vision loss due to age-related eye diseases, particularly macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma preventable, treatable and in the case of cataracts, even reversible. To benefit from these interventions, however, individuals must have access to eye care, Xinzhi Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health and colleagues write in the study background.
According to study results, in 2002, persons with age-related eye disease and a poverty-income ratio (PIR, an index that compares family income with the poverty threshold established by the Census Bureau+) of less than 1.50 were significantly less likely than those with a PIR of at least 5 to report visiting an eye care clinician (62.7 percent versus 80.1 percent) or undergoing dilated eye examination in the past 12 months (64.3 percent versus 80.4 percent). Similarly, persons with less than a high school education were less likely than those with at least a college education to report a visit to an eye care clinician (62.9 percent versus 80.8 percent) or dialed eye examination (64.8 percent versus 81.4 percent). In 2002, the slope index of inequality showed statistically significant differences for eye care clinician visits across the levels of education, and in 2008, it showed a significant difference for eye care clinician visits across the levels of educational attainment.
“There is a need for increased awareness about the relationship between social circumstances and ARED [age-related eye disease] and for more research to determine how income and educational inequalities affect health-seeking behavior at the community and individual level over time,” the authors conclude.
JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online July 18, 2013. doi:10.1001/.jamainternmed.2013.4694.
The study was supported by the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please see article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.