Sociodemographic and endogenous factors associated with access to eye care in Canada, 2016 to 2019

Health Rep. 2022 Dec 21;33(12):24-36. doi: 10.25318/82-003-x202201200003-eng.


Introduction: Eye care is important, but it is not always promoted as much as other aspects of health. A visit to an eye care professional is made when need, stimulus, access and availability exist.

Data and methods: Data from cycles 5 and 6 (2016 to 2019) of the Canadian Health Measures Survey were used. Analyzed variables were related to sociodemographic characteristics, general health, behaviour and eye health. Estimates were obtained using survey weights, and 95% confidence intervals were obtained with bootstrap weights.

Results: From 2016 to 2019, 75% of people diagnosed with diabetes visited an eye care professional during the previous year. For people not diagnosed with diabetes, the rate varied, at 57% for those aged 6 to 18 years, 40% for those aged 19 to 64, and 63% for those aged 65 to 79. For those aged 6 to 64, wearing glasses and having access to a family doctor were the main factors associated with a visit to an eye care professional in the previous year. For those aged 65 to 79, cataracts, sex, marital status and self-perceived quality of life were the most significant factors.

Interpretation: Although wearing glasses or having eye diseases was associated with a visit to an eye care professional, this study revealed additional emerging associated factors: access to a family doctor for people aged 6 to 64, and an excellent or very good self-perceived quality of life for those aged 65 to 79.

Keywords: Access to a family doctor; Canadian Health Measures Survey; Diabetes; Eye health; Glasses; Quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires