Disparities in Post-Screening Eye Care Highlight Need for Targeted Interventions
In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, researchers shed light on the persistent issue of inadequate follow-up eye care among children in underserved communities. The study identifies multiple factors, including race and socioeconomic status, that contribute to low rates of follow-up care after failed vision screenings.
- The study analyzed 1,744,805 vision screenings conducted between 2013 and 2020 across 238 school districts.
- Only 35.4% of eligible students received annual screenings, with failure rates ranging from 8.0% to 9.4%.
- Follow-up rates varied widely, with less than 60% follow-up in 91% of the districts.
- Factors such as race, academic achievement, poverty level, and insurance status were identified as significant contributors to follow-up rates.
- Higher follow-up rates were correlated with higher concentrations of White students, higher graduation rates, and higher percentages of students with government-assisted insurance.
- The study found no significant association between follow-up rates and the number of eye care providers or school nurses in the districts.
- Limitations of the study include reliance on free or reduced-cost lunch as a poverty indicator and incomplete data on ophthalmology providers.
- The study emphasizes the need for targeted interventions that address the specific barriers faced by students and families in accessing follow-up eye care.
“Interventions to improve follow-up eye care for students that fail school vision screenings must consider and address the barriers that students and families face.”
– Study authors