July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
Visually disabled in the Ontario Disability Support Program: Trends in socio-demographics, financial support and use of vision care benefits from 2003 to 2013
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Yaping Jin
    Ophthalmology & Vis Sci, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Sophia Y Liu
    University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Yvonne M Buys
    Ophthalmology & Vis Sci, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Anam Khan
    Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Graham Eric Trope
    Ophthalmology & Vis Sci, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Yaping Jin, None; Sophia Liu, None; Yvonne Buys, None; Anam Khan, None; Graham Trope, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 5181. doi:
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      Yaping Jin, Sophia Y Liu, Yvonne M Buys, Anam Khan, Graham Eric Trope; Visually disabled in the Ontario Disability Support Program: Trends in socio-demographics, financial support and use of vision care benefits from 2003 to 2013. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):5181.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : To report on the trends from 2003-2013 in financial support provided by the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to visually disabled (VD) individuals and describe changes in socio-demographics of recipients and their use of vision care benefits over the same time period.

Methods : ODSP administrative data were analyzed. VD individuals aged 18+ were identified using ICD-9 codes. Diabetes was both excluded and included as a part of the VD definition in analyses. All financial values were converted to 2013 Canadian dollars (CAD).

Results : Over 11 years, the total number of VD recipients increased from 3,370 in 2003 to 4,250 in 2013, representing a 26% increase when diabetes was excluded. After adjusting for the effect of age, the number of VD recipients increased from 35 in 2003 to 39 in 2013 per 100,000 population (p<0.05).

The financial values of in-kind benefit (e.g. providing shelter) and “cash” assistance are almost equal in each of the study years. The amount of in-kind benefit and “cash” assistance also grew in parallel over the 11 years. The total financial support increased from 80.6 million CAD in 2003 to 101.6 million CAD in 2013.

The mean age of recipients increased from 43 to 46 years. Females and married/common-law status consistently represented 42% and 23% of recipients, respectively. Immigrants comprised 23% of VD in 2003 and 31% in 2013.

The top three VD diagnoses were blindness and low vision (58%), retinal disorders (16%) and glaucoma (4%). Vision care benefits provided by ODSP (e.g. routine eye exams, eyeglasses, magnifiers) were seldom used by VD. About 4% of VD used guide dog benefits.

Trends were more pronounced when diabetes was included.

Conclusions : In Ontario, the financial support for VD individuals and their families increased from 81 million CAD in 2003 to 102 million CAD in 2013, a 26% increase. After adjusting for the effect of age and population size, the number of VD individuals and related financial support increased over the past decade, likely due to increased disease rate leading to VD and/or financial need. The vision care benefits currently provided by the ODSP do not seem to match the needs of VD individuals. The low use of guide dog benefits may reflect barriers in obtaining the service.

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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