Disparities in pediatric ophthalmology care on the rise

Disparities in access to pediatric ophthalmology care are mostly based on socioeconomic status, a study published Jan. 26 in JAMA Ophthalmology suggests. 

Researchers from the University of Miami looked into the distribution of pediatric ophthalmologists compared to U.S. population demographics using data from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. 

The study also found that over the last 15 years, access to pediatric ophthalmologists has decreased. "Disparities in access to pediatric ophthalmologists are not only persistent but have increased over time," the study said. "Key demographic and socioeconomic differences exist between populations in areas with [versus] without access to pediatric ophthalmological care."

The study found that family income was higher in counties with one or more pediatric ophthalmologists compared to counties with no pediatric ophthalmologists. 

Counties with no pediatric ophthalmologists also had more families with no internet or vehicle access and a higher portion of people under 19 years of age who did not have health insurance.

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