|Americans with limited access to healthcare services are less likely to receive cataract surgery. Photo: Joseph Sowka, OD.
What’s the association between social determinants of health and cataract incidence? Researchers presented the results of a recent study on the topic at the 2022 ARVO meeting in Denver, which used data from the National Health Interview Survey that included gender, race/ethnicity, level of education, economic stability, employment and access to healthcare.
Of the 81,551 participants 18 years of and older, 16.5% reported a diagnosis of cataracts, 59.6% of whom underwent cataract surgery. Multivariable regression analysis, adjusted for age, was used to assess the association between social determinants of health and self-reported cataract diagnosis and surgery.
Americans who were unemployed or retired were more likely to report cataracts than working individuals, and they were also more likely to undergo cataract surgery. Individuals who delayed any type of medical care because they could not get an appointment soon enough were more likely to report cataracts than those who had no issues obtaining appointments on time, and they were also less likely to have undergone cataract surgery.
Those who reported their health status as excellent, very good or good were less likely to report cataracts than those who reported fair or poor health with no significant difference in odds of undergoing cataract surgery. Compared with Caucasians, African-Americans and Hispanics were less likely to self-report a diagnosis of cataracts. African-Americans were also less likely to undergo cataract surgery.
The researchers concluded that unemployed or retired status, difficulty accessing care and fair or poor health status were significantly associated with higher odds of cataracts. They suggest further research is needed regarding the impact of social determinants of health and vision loss from cataracts to address avoidable health disparities.
Original abstract content © Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2022.
Ali M, Awidi A, Wang J, et al. The association of social determinants of health with cataracts in the U.S. ARVO 2022 annual meeting.