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Stephen Watson, Dmitry Pyatetsky; Comparison of theoretical demand for glaucoma eye care by the African-American population of cook county to the supply of ophthalmologic manpower as a pilot study of access to care. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):4417.
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To determine the methodology to calculate the demand for ophthalmic care of common ophthalmic conditions among various racial groups and amount of care provided by the ophthalmology workforce. To determine whether there is a mismatch between the geographical distribution of African-American theoretical demand and the ophthalmology workforce in Cook County, Illinois.
Geographic distribution by zip code of African-Americans above 40 years of age was determined by plotting the 2010 US Census Data on a population density map of Cook County using geographic information systems (GIS) software. "African-American” was defined as selecting African-American alone and no other race on the 2010 US Census questionnaire. The density of licensed ophthalmologist per zip code in Cook county was calculated using Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations website. To compare demand for eye care with supply of ophthalmologists a single unit was defined: a full-time equivalent (FTE). 1 FTE for an ophthalmologist is defined as the amount of time an average ophthalmologist works per year, approximately 2016 hours. An average glaucoma patient’s demand per year (71 minutes/year of the ophthalmologist’s available 2016 work hours/year) can be expressed as 0.0000546 FTE.
The calculated theoretical demand for primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) related eye care for African-Americans 40 years of age or older has a non-uniform distribution. The difference between ophthalmologists manpower and the theoretical demand for POAG demand eye care for African-Americans 40 years of age or older shows many zip-codes with a lack of manpower to meet the need of theoretical demand. The areas with the largest deficit are located in areas with a dense African-American population.
In Cook County of Illinois, there exists a geographic mismatch between demand for eye care by the African-American population and the supply of ophthalmologists. As a pilot study, this provides a precise methodology for calculating the theoretical demand geographic distribution, and comparing that theoretical demand to ophthalmic manpower. Future studies looking at more common ophthalmic diseases amongst various racial groups may provide further insight in the limitation of access to eye care.
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