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A. Paturi, T. Albanese; Eye Care Needs Assessment of Underserved Populations in Summit County, Ohio. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):2501.
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To identify the ophthalmic needs and barriers to ophthalmic care among different underserved and minority groups at risk for preventable causes of blindness in Summit County, Ohio.
A non-randomized cross-section of underserved and minority groups in Summit County, Ohio were offered a self-administered 26 question survey in one of five languages. The survey was offered at one of three sites which included two churches and a free medical clinic. Demographic variables in addition to information such as the frequency of eye exams, transportation, insurance, source of primary health care, vision status, language, medical problems, and other barriers to care were assessed. Asians, Hispanics, African-Americans (AA), and Non-Hispanic Whites over the age of eighteen years were eligible to participate. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square analysis, and Pearson Correlation (PC) coefficients.
187 individuals participated in the survey. These included 82 Caucasians (non-Hispanic whites), 50 AA, 26 Hispanics, and 29 Asians. Ethnicity in all groups was self-reported. 77% of Hispanics, 66% of AA, 63% of Caucasians, and 59% of Asians reported dissatisfaction with their current level of vision overall. Over 52% within each group also reported changes in their vision. However, 50% percent of Hispanics had never received an eye exam, 48% of Asians and 42% of AA had received their last eye exam over two years ago. Caucasians were more likely to be older (PC=.187, p=.010), to have had more eye exams (PC=.190, p=.009), and more likely to have had a medical exam (PC=.233, p=.001) when compared with the other groups. Difficulty traveling to the doctor was also associated with having fewer eye exams (PC=.228, p=.002).73% of Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites had no health insurance, 56% of AA had no health insurance coverage while 69% of Asians had health insurance coverage. Older persons were more likely to have insurance through an employer, Medicare or Medicaid and younger persons were more likely to be without insurance (PC=.320).
This survey suggests that there are a large number of underserved and minority groups with visual complaints and limited access to ophthalmic care in Summit County, Ohio. Disparities also exist between groups of underserved populations. Caucasians are more likely to have access to medical and ophthalmic care than African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics. This information can guide Public health officials, community organizations, and area health care facilities to implement and target programs that improve ophthalmic services, education, and access to care for groups at risk for preventable causes of blindness.
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