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Shicheng Jin, Sherif El-Defrawy, Jonathan A. Micieli, Yaping Jin, Peng Yan; The Landscape of Ophthalmologists and Optometrists in Ontario, Canada from 2011 to 2016. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):1018.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To assess trends in ophthalmology and optometry providers across Ontario, Canada.
Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) medical provider data from April 1st 2010 to March 31st 2016 was extracted from the Ontario Ministry of Health & Long Term Care IntelliHealth database. Ophthalmology and optometry provider data was analyzed by sex, age, municipality, and population centre: large urban (≥100,000 persons), medium (30,000-99,999 persons), small (1,000-29,999 persons), and rural (<1,000 persons) as defined by Statistics Canada.
From 2011 to 2016, Ontario’s population increased by 5.4% while the number of optometrists increased significantly more than the number of ophthalmologists per 100,000 people (+14.6% vs +1.6%; p<0.05).Over the 5-year period, on average ophthalmologists were 53±13 yrs old and 20±1% female. During this time, the ratio by sex stayed consistent at 1F:4M with no significant shifts among age groups: ≤34 (8%), 35-49 (33%), 50-64 (38%), 65+ (21%). By geography, ophthalmologists practiced in 61/444 (13.7%) municipalities where 77.9% of Ontarians live. Over the 5-year period, the change in ophthalmologists per 100,000 vs population was -20.1% vs +2.4% for small centres, +10.6% vs +2.0% for medium centres and -0.6% vs +8.5% for large urban centres. No ophthalmologists practiced in rural communities.Over the 5-year period, on average optometrists were 43±12 yrs old and 51±2% female. During this time, the ratio by sex stayed consistent at 1F:1M with no significant shifts among age groups: ≤34 (30%), 35-49 (39%), 50-64 (27%), 65+ (21%). By geography, optometrists practiced in 160/444 (36.0%) municipalities where 92.2% of Ontarians live. From 2011 to 2016, the change in optometrists per 100,000 vs population was -2.7% vs +2.8% for small centres, +10.2% vs +4.0% for medium centres and +15.5% vs +8.5% for large urban centres. No optometrists practiced in rural communities.
From 2011 to 2016, per 100,000 population the number of optometrists has increased significantly more than the number of ophthalmologists. In urban areas, there has been a large increase in optometrists while the number of ophthalmologists has decreased. In smaller communities, the number of optometrists and ophthalmologists both decreased, with ophthalmology experiencing the largest decline. Careful resource planning is needed to prevent oversupply of optometrists and undersupply of ophthalmologists.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
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