Food, housing insecurity among self-reported barriers to eye care

Socioeconomic and demographic factors, such as housing insecurity and mental health issues, are associated with a lower likelihood of receiving eye care, according to research published in JAMA Ophthalmology. “In this study, we demonstrated that food or housing insecurity, attitudes toward practitioner concordance, income, educational level and insurance status were associated with a lower likelihood of receiving [diabetic retinopathy] screening,” Rohith Ravindranath, MS, and colleagues from Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University wrote. “Our results highlight self-reported barriers to seeking care and the potential importance of taking steps to promote health equity, such as providing a safe space to receive care, reducing implicit bias and improving access to care.”

In a retrospective study of 11,551 adults with type 2 diabetes in the All of Us Research Program, researchers investigated differences in demographic and socioeconomic factors among participants who reported visiting an eye care professional vs. those who did not. According to results, 69.11% of participants self-reported receiving eye care within the past year.

The researchers found that those who reported practitioner concordance (similarity or shared identity between practitioner and patient based on a demographic attribute, such as race, sex, or age) was somewhat or very important were less likely to see an eye care professional, as were those experiencing food or housing insecurity. Participants who reported good mental health were more likely to see an eye care practitioner compared with those who reported fair mental health. “Such findings highlight the self-reported barriers to seeking care and the importance of taking steps to promote health equity,” Ravindranath and colleagues wrote.

Sources:

Healio, November 29, 2023; see source article Rohith Ravindranath et al, JAMA Ophthalmology (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2023.5287