Disparities in access to medical care for individuals with vision impairment

Christine Spencer, Kevin Frick, Emily W. Gower, John H. Kempen, Jennifer L. Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: We investigated the relationship between blindness and vision impairment and access to medical care. Methods: Pooled data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) years 2002-2004 were used to identify non-institutionalized individuals over the age of 40 with either self-reported blindness, vision impairment, or no vision impairment (n = 40,643). Differences in access to care measures by vision status were assessed, after adjusting for the complex sampling design of the MEPS, using either two-sided z-tests or two-sided t-tests. Results: Individuals with blindness and vision impairment report having more access problems related to cost of care, availability of insurance coverage, transportation issues, and refusal of services by providers, although they do not report lower rates of having a usual source of care compared to those without vision impairment. Conclusions: The results suggest that access to care for individuals with blindness and vision impairment is problematic, for reasons that are amenable to policy interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-288
Number of pages8
JournalOphthalmic Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


  • Access to care
  • Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)
  • Medical care
  • Vision care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Ophthalmology


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