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H. Koenig, Y. Trigo, W. E. Sponsel; Who Attends Free Eye Screenings?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):2407.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To determine what kinds of people take advantage of free glaucoma eye screening opportunities in a mobile clinic stationed at multiple urban sites in South Central Texas.
Screenings were held for 4 consecutive days each month in a 60-foot Lions Mobile Eye Screening Unit parked outside different locations of a local grocery chain throughout Bexar County, Texas. Informed consent documents were signed by each participant. An IRB waiver was granted allowing for this assessment of the demographic and health insurance status of screenees attending between September 2005 and November 2006.
A total of 1881 people were screened during the 15-month period, 1030 females (55%) and 851 males (45%). The mean age of the total screened was 47.8. Mexican-Americans comprised 56% of the total, followed by European-Americans (24%), African-Americans (16%), Asian (2%) and Other (1%). Among all participants, 920 (49%) reported having health insurance (including Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans), 937 (50%) claimed to be uninsured, and 24 (1%) were uncertain. The European-American, African-American and Asian groups were all at least 50% insured (62%, 53% and 50% respectively), while Hispanics were 42% insured, and Other 33%.Among individuals without other significant eye pathology demonstrating 20/40 or worse pinhole visual acuity in at least one eye, 48% (340) had insurance, while 50% (361) did not, with 1% (7) unknown. About one-third had some form of refractive correction (236 = 34%); the remainder either admitted having no correction available anywhere (414 = 60%) or attended without glasses (39 = 6%).
Just over half of the individuals who took advantage of free eye screenings had no health insurance. More than one-third of attendees had compromised visual acuity, with similar proportions among the insured and the non-insured. Approximately 37% of those with compromised vision and without insurance had no glasses, but, remarkably, more than a quarter of insured individuals with visual compromise had no glasses, either. Factors aside from access to care appear to contribute substantially in determining whether certain individuals will take practical action to address their own visual compromise.
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