Purpose: To assess vision health disparities in the United States by race/ethnicity, education, and economic status.
Design: Cross-sectional, nationally representative samples.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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 vs >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).
Conclusions: Observed vision health disparities suggest a need for educational and innovative interventions among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.
Published by Elsevier Inc.