Inequities Identified in Ophthalmologic Care, Research

Lower-income patients more likely to have vision impairment, less use of eye care services, lower adherence to eye exams
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MONDAY, Dec. 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Various inequities have been identified in ophthalmologic care, including negative ophthalmic outcomes for Black and Hispanic patients, according to a review published online Dec. 8 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Christian Hemmerich, from the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa, and colleagues conducted a scoping review of the literature relating to health care inequities in ophthalmology. The National Institutes of Health list of designated U.S. health care inequity populations, including income; education level; occupational status; rural and underresourced area; sex and gender; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) identity; and race and ethnicity, was modeled. Data were included from 75 publications.

The researchers identified notable inequities among Black and Hispanic patients that were associated with negative ophthalmic outcomes and mixed associations regarding sex or gender. Patients with lower income were more likely to have vision impairment, use less eye care services, and have lower adherence to eye examinations. LGBTQ inequities were not examined among ophthalmology patients in any articles within the sample since the 2016 National Institutes of Health classification of sexual and gender-minority populations. Within the ophthalmic literature, substantial research gaps were seen pertaining to the LGBTQ community, race and ethnicity, and rural and underresourced areas.

"Because of the importance of ophthalmic care in overall patient health, it is vital to understand the various inequities present and strive to improve the current gaps in the literature," the authors write. "We hope our findings will provide guidance for future research into health inequities."

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