CDC: Many Americans Are Skipping Eye Care
Survey Shows Cost or Lack of Insurance Are Reasons Cited for Avoiding a Visit to the Eye Doctor
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Lack of Insurance continued...
The reasons survey participants gave for failing to seek eye care varied by age, sex, presence of eye disease, state the person lived in, race, ethnicity, and education level.
"The large proportion of persons aged 65 and over reporting no need as their main reason for not seeking care is of concern because this population has the highest prevalence of visual impairment," the CDC report says. "A possible reason for this is that older adults might regard impairment as a normal part of aging."
The researchers note that previous studies have indicated that many people often aren't aware they have eye health needs because of the lack of attention given to the subject by primary care providers.
Eye Care Varies by State
The CDC says differences were noted among the 21 states for which information was available. The percentage of respondents not seeking eye care was lowest both for adults 40-64 and for those 65 and older in Massachusetts, the state with the smallest proportion of residents with no health insurance.
Such information can be used to inform policy makers about unmet health care needs, according to the CDC. The researchers say public health interventions are needed to increase awareness among both adults 65 and older and the health care providers who take care of them.
In Massachusetts, 21.6% of people aged 40 to 64 said they didn't seek eye care because of costs or lack of insurance, compared to 60.4% of people in that age group in Tennessee.
For people 65 and older, 8.9% in Massachusetts did not seek eye checkups due to cost or lack of insurance, compared to 48% in West Virginia.
The percentage reporting no need for eye exams ranged from 25.4% in Florida to 41.9% in Arizona in the 40-64 age range, and from 29.7% in West Virginia to 61% in Massachusetts among those aged 65 and over.