Purchase this article with an account.
Kunyong Xu, Graham E. Trope, Kednapa Thavorn, Ya-ping Jin; Access To Government-insured Vision Care Versus Privatized Dental Care Amongst Canadian Adolescents: Is Cost The Sole Barrier?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):6768.
Download citation file:
© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To assess cost barriers to vision care, we compared utilization of government-insured eye care providers versus privatized dental care providers by Canadian adolescents.
Data on annual utilization of eye care providers (ophthalmologists and optometrists) and dental care providers (dentists, dental hygienists, or orthodontists) was collected from the Canadian Community Health Survey 2007/2008. Respondents aged 12-14 were included (n=5,457). Government insurance coverage was obtained from official reports.
Amongst adolescents living in provinces where government provides insurance for routine eye examinations once per year but no coverage for dental checkups (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan), utilization of dental care providers (82.8%) was 1.8 times more frequent than eye care providers (45.8%, p<0.05). Utilization was increased significantly to 93.9% (p<0.05) for dental care providers but was remained at 48.2% (p>0.05) for eye care providers amongst adolescents from families with the highest household income. Amongst families with the lowest household income, utilization was 70.5% for dental care providers and 45.5% for eye care providers (p<0.05).In Prince Edward Island where government provides 0% coverage for routine eye examinations but 100% coverage for preventive dental services, utilization was 2.6 times greater for dental care providers (86.2%) than for eye care providers (32.9%, p<0.05). When neither routine eye examinations nor dental care services are sponsored by government (Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia), utilization was 2.3 times higher for dental care providers (78.5%) than for eye care providers (34.6%, p<0.05).
Adolescents utilize dental care providers twice as often as eye care providers. When cost barriers for annual routine eye examinations are removed by government health insurance, over half Canadian adolescents do not take advantage of this opportunity to have their eyes examined. Barriers to vision care services other than cost need to be identified and addressed.
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only