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Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Visual Impairment in the United States

Published:November 06, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2020.10.041
      Sociodemographic disparities in ophthalmology have been documented for individual diseases such as refractive error, cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
      • Wilson M.R.
      • Eezzuduemhoi D.R.
      Ophthalmologic disorders in minority populations.
      Although their common and relevant end point is visual impairment (VI), few studies have examined disparity in VI more broadly. Existing data in most cases are more than 1 decade old
      • Wilson F.A.
      • Wang Y.
      • Stimpson J.P.
      • et al.
      Disparities in visual impairment by immigrant status in the United States.
      • Lam B.L.
      • Lee D.J.
      • Zheng D.D.
      • et al.
      Disparity in prevalence of self-reported visual impairment in older adults among U.S. race-ethnic subgroups.
      • Chou C.-F.
      • Barker L.E.
      • Crews J.E.
      • et al.
      Disparities in eye care utilization among the United States adults with visual impairment: findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2006–2009.
      and may not reflect the quickly shifting demographic composition of the United States. More recent Medicare claims data are unrepresentative of the population as a whole.
      • Hamedani A.G.
      • VanderBeek B.L.
      • Willis A.W.
      Blindness and visual impairment in the Medicare population: disparities and association with hip fracture and neuropsychiatric outcomes.
      Given the lack of current and generalizable population-level data on VI, we aimed to provide an updated analysis of disparity in VI among adults in the United States based on race and socioeconomic status (SES).

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