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  • Use of Eye Care by Adults at High Risk of Vision Loss

    By Lynda Seminara
    Selected and Reviewed By: Neil M. Bressler, MD, and Deputy Editors

    Journal Highlights

    JAMA Ophthalmology, May 2020

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    Saydah et al. compared the number of U.S. adults at high risk for vision loss and the use of eye care services in 2002 and 2017. They found that more adults were at high risk for vision loss in 2017 than in 2002. However, while more adults received eye care in 2017, the percentage who could not afford eye­glasses was higher in 2017.

    For this study, the authors gathered data from two National Health Interview Surveys. Covariates included demographics, health insurance status, vision or eye problems (age-related macular degeneration, cataract, dia­betic retinopathy, glaucoma, or an eye injury), and the presence of diabetes. Main outcome measures were self-re­ports of having done the following in the preceding 12 months: 1) visiting an eye care professional, 2) undergoing a dilated eye exam, and 3) needing eye­glasses but being unable to afford them. Respondents who were unable to see or were younger than 18 years of age were excluded from the analysis.

    Participants who were deemed at high risk for vision loss were those ≥65 years of age and those with a diabetes diagnosis or eye/vision problem. As­sessment methods included multivari­able logistic regression and temporal comparisons (2002 vs. 2017) derived from estimates standardized to the 2010 census population.

    In 2017, more than 93 million U.S. adults were at high risk for vision loss, up from almost 65 million in 2002. For this study, of the 30,920 eligible respondents in 2002, 16% were at least 65 years old, compared with 20% of the 32,886 respondents in 2017. Fifty-two percent of both samples were female.

    Although use of eye care services was greater in 2017 than in 2002 (visit: 56.9% vs. 51.1%; dilated exam: 59.8% vs. 52.4%), so was the percentage of individuals who could not afford eyeglasses (8.7% vs. 8.3%). This finding was more pronounced for low-income participants.

    The original article can be found here.