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Joana Andoh, Tahreem Aman Mir, Christopher Teng, Emily A Wang, Kristen Harris Nwanyanwu; Assessment of Vision Impairment among Individuals with History of Criminal Justice Involvement. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):3493.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In the US, incarcerated persons are three times more likely to report vision impairment (VI) compared to the general population. However, there is a paucity of studies that examine VI and criminal justice involvement (CJI). The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and predictors of VI among National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) respondents with a CJI history.
This study was a retrospective cross-sectional analysis. Using 2015-2018 NSDUH data, we compared sociodemographic and health characteristics, stratified by CJI history. We labeled respondents as having a CJI history if they had ever been arrested or had a history of parole or probation in the past year. We used logistic regression to investigate the association between VI and CJI history. Among those with a CJI history, we identified variables associated with VI.
The total study sample consisted of 226,632 respondents, representative of 270,745,251 people in the US. A weighted total of 2,431,106 (0.91%) people reported VI and CJI. VI was more prevalent in the CJI group (2,451,071 [5.8%]) compared to those with no CJI (9,532,920 [4.2%], p<0.001). The VI and CJI cohort was 62.9% male, with racial distributions 57.8% white, 19.6% Black, 15.5% Hispanic, and 1.1% Asian (Table 1). Those with VI and CJI were more likely to be ages 50-64, have lower education, have less employment, earn <$20,000, and have Medicaid. High blood pressure was the most common chronic condition. Physical impairment was the most common co-disability. Nearly half of the VI and CJI cohort reported to have a fair/poor health status. In multivariable analysis, controlling for sociodemographic and health factors, CJI history was associated with a 20% increased risk of VI (OR 1.2, CI 1.1-1.2, p<0.01). Among those with CJI, significant predictors of VI were female gender, lower income, not having private insurance, recent arrest, diabetes, heart condition, hearing, cognitive, and physical impairment (all p<0.05).
There is a higher prevalence of VI among individuals with CJI compared to those with no CJI. Predictors of VI among those with a CJI history include female gender, lower income, insurance type, recent arrest, select chronic conditions and disabilities. Further research exploring the etiologies of VI among formerly incarcerated persons would help to elucidate these findings and guide allocation of resources.
This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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