Measuring access to eye care: a public health perspective

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):418-25. doi: 10.1080/09286580802399102.


Purpose: To examine the different dimensions of access to eye care from a public health perspective.

Methods: We substantively review the theoretical and empirical literature on access to eye care and summarize the major considerations in measuring access to eye care using a modified behavioral framework.

Results: We found that progress has been made, but some gaps still remain in measuring access to eye care. Most studies have focused on individual characteristics and use of eye care services. Only a very few studies have touched on contextual characteristics, such as demographic make-up of the area in which the patient lives, and their impact on the use of eye care services. Few studies have explored the linkage between the use of eye care services and outcomes or between the use of such services and patient satisfaction.

Conclusions: To address a variety of demands from patients, providers, and policy makers, it is necessary to account for potential access and realized access measures. We need to adopt new methods in assessing the relationship between contextual characteristics and use of eye care services. Moreover, we need to better understand patients' satisfaction and their relationship with utilization and health outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Eye Diseases / therapy*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health*
  • United States