Vision Health Disparities in the United States by Race/Ethnicity, Education, and Economic Status: Findings From Two Nationally Representative Surveys

American Journal of Ophthalmology (Impact Factor: 3.87). 12/2012; 154(6):S53–S62.e1. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajo.2011.08.045


To assess vision health disparities in the United States by race/ethnicity, education, and economic status.

Cross-sectional, nationally representative samples.

We used national survey data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Main outcome measures included, from NHANES, age-related eye diseases (ie, age-related macular degeneration [AMD], cataract, diabetic retinopathy [DR], glaucoma) and from NHIS, eye care use (ie, eye doctor visits and cannot afford eyeglasses when needed) among those with self-reported visual impairment. The estimates were age- and sex-standardized to the 2000 US Census population. Linear trends in the estimates were assessed by weighted least squares regression.

Non-Hispanic whites had a higher prevalence of AMD and cataract surgery than non-Hispanic blacks, but a lower prevalence of DR and glaucoma (all P < .001 in NHANES 2005-2008). From 1999 to 2008, individuals with less education (ie, high school) and lower income (poverty income ratio [PIR] <1.00 vs ≥4.00) were consistently less likely to have had an eye care visit in the past 12 months compared with their counterparts (all P < .05). During this period, inability to afford needed eyeglasses increased among non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics (trend P = .004 and P = .007; respectively), those with high school education (trend P = .036), and those with PIR 1.00-1.99 (trend P < .001).

Observed vision health disparities suggest a need for educational and innovative interventions among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.

12 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose: We quantified and measured the needs for specific eye care services, including refractive services (RS), annual eye examination services (AES), cataract surgery services (CSS), and low vision services (LVS) in urban adult populations in Asia. Methods: We conducted three population-based studies of Singapore-resident Chinese, Malays, and Indians aged ≥40 years to measure the proportion of people who needed specific eye care services. Results: Our data included 3353 Chinese, 3280 Malays, and 3400 Indians (participation rate 73.6%). Overall, approximately 70% of the populations needed eye care services and more than 30% had more than one need. The age-standardized proportion of people who need RS, AES, CSS, and LVS were 65.3%, 22.4%, 12.5%, and 0.5%, respectively, in Chinese. These figures were 49.6%, 33.6%, 11.0%, and 0.7%, respectively, in Malays, and 55.6%, 40.0%, 13.4%, and 0.8%, respectively, in Indians. With demographic change, our projection showed that the number of adults needing eye care services in urban Asia will grow from 437 million in 2010 to 827 million in 2030. Diabetes was a major cause of AES and a significant predictor for CSS, whereas higher blood pressure was a predictor for AES. Conclusions: The needs for eye care services in an urban setting in Asia is high, particularly the needs for RS, AES, and CSS. The high prevalences of diabetes and hypertension are the driving factors underlying these needs. The burden of providing such eye care services highlights the need for new strategies for improvements in primary care and capacity building for eye care professionals other than ophthalmologists.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 02/2013; 54(3). DOI:10.1167/iovs.12-11393 · 3.40 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To investigate trends in the incidence of lens extraction over the past 20 years. Longitudinal population-based cohort study. Persons who participated in the Beaver Dam Eye Study. Eligible persons 43 to 84 years of age living in the city or township of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, were recruited from 1987 through 1988. Participants were followed up every 5 years from 1993 through 1995, from 1998 through 2000, from 2003 through 2005, and from 2008 through 2010 after the baseline examination from 1988 through 1990. Examinations consisted of ocular examination with lens photography and grading; medical history; and measurements of blood pressure, height, and weight. Adjustments were made for age and gender. Values of risk variables were updated, and the incidence of lens extraction surgery was calculated in each 5-year interval. Incidence of lens extraction with regard to presence of clinically significant lens opacity and visual function. Age- and gender-adjusted incidence of lens extraction increased over the 4 intervals from 1.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3%-2.5%) in the interval between the first and second study examinations to 11.7% (95% CI, 9.9%-13.8%) in the most recent study interval. The increase in incidence of surgery was significantly higher at successive intervals in persons without clinically significant lens opacity at each preceding examination (interval 1, 0.8% [95% CI, 0.6%-1.1%]; interval 4, 9.4% [95% CI, 7.8%-11.2%]) compared with persons with at least 1 detectable type of opacity (interval 1, 9.2% [95% CI, 6.4%-13.2%]; interval 4, 16.5% [95% CI, 13.4%-20.0%]). Recency of examination was not attenuated by adjusting for additional risk factors. There was no evidence that the increased incidence in surgery was preceded by poorer visual acuity, near vision, or contrast sensitivity at the beginning of each interval. The incidence of lens extraction has increased over the past 20 years in persons older than 65 years. The relative increase of surgery is higher in those without any clinically significant lens opacity and in persons with visual acuity better than 20/40 at an examination as measured 5 years before observed incidence of lens extraction. The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
    Ophthalmology 08/2013; 121(1). DOI:10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.06.006 · 6.14 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Poor vision is associated with lower socioeconomic status, but less is known about its relationship to area deprivation. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study Norfolk Eye Study was a cross-sectional study of 8563 participants with completed eye examinations. Logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) visual acuity (VA) was measured using standard protocols and low vision (LV) was defined as Snellen equivalent (VA) ≤6/12 in the better eye. Uncorrected refractive error (URE) was defined as improvement of VA by 2 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution lines with pinhole. The lowest 5% of index of multiple deprivation rank was used to define the most deprived areas. The index of multiple deprivation is a composite measure using routine data from seven domains of deprivation to identify the most disadvantaged areas in England. Logistic regression was used to examine univariable and multivariable associations with LV. Ninety-six participants with missing data were excluded, leaving 8467 for analysis (98.9%). The mean age of the study group was 68.7 years (SD=8.1, range=48-92), with 55.1% women. LV was present in 263 participants (3.1%, 95% CI 2.7 to 3.5%). LV was associated with deprivation after adjusting for age, sex, education, social class and cataract surgery (OR=1.7, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.6, p=0.03), but this effect was mitigated by additionally adjusting for URE (OR=1.5, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.4, p=0.09). People with LV are more likely to live in the most deprived areas; this association was independent of socioeconomic status and partly mediated by URE. Targeting URE in deprived areas may reduce health inequalities associated with LV.
    Journal of epidemiology and community health 10/2013; 68(3). DOI:10.1136/jech-2013-203265 · 3.50 Impact Factor
Show more