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Xiongfei Liu, Deyu Pan, Richard S Baker, Fei Yu, Flora Lum, Anne L Coleman; Association between geographic distribution of eye care providers and rates of vision difficulties in California. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):4103.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To explore the association between the geographic distribution of eye care providers and rates of vision difficulties.
Physician and surgeon database from Medical Board of California in 2011 and optometrists of California were used to find ratios of ophthalmologist and optometrists per 100,000 populations for state, county, and Medical Service Study Area (MSSA). American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Data (2009-2015) by the US Census Bureau was used to estimate the rates of vision difficulties per 100,000 population in the same geographic unit. Spearman correlation coefficients were used to evaluate the correlation between eye care providers and rates of vision difficulties. QGIS software was used to make GIS maps for eye care providers and rates of vision difficulty.
In California, there were 2506 licensed ophthalmologists and 4299 optometrists in 2011, resulting in 6.7 ophthalmologists and 11.5 optometrists per 100,000 population. While 10 out of 59 counties with small populations had no ophthalmologists, some counties such as San Francisco had 16 ophthalmologists per 100,000 population, double the state average. 57% (312/544) MSSAs had at least one ophthalmologists, and 79% (429/544) MSSAs had at least one optometrist. The top three MSSA areas with most ophthalmologists were Crown Point, Century City, and Laurel heights, while the top three areas for optometrists were situated in Redondo Beach, Berkeley South and West, and Fresno North central. The top three MSSA areas with individuals with vision difficulty were El Nido, Merced, and Atwater, with more than 10% of the population experiencing vision difficulty. Spearman correlation coefficients showed statistically significantly inverse correlation between rate of ophthalmologists and rate of vision difficulty (r=-0.33, p<0.001) and between rate of optometrists and rate of vision difficulty (r=-0.34, p<0.001), as some areas showed low rate of eye care providers and high rate of vision difficulty, such as South Central Los Angeles.
Eye care provider shortage areas coincided with increased rates of individuals with a history of vision difficulty. Further research is needed to investigate this.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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