Odds of Poor Vision Increased for Black, Mexican, Low-Income Teens

Adolescent children who are Black, Mexican, low-income, or non-U.S. citizens are more likely to report poor subjective visual function and worse performance on visual acuity testing, according to a study published online Sept. 15 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Jean Adomfeh, M.B.A., from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of adolescents from the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to describe visual health disparities. A total of 2,833 participants aged 12 to 18 years completed a visual function questionnaire and eye examination.

The researchers found that the odds of self-reported poor vision were increased among Black, Mexican American, and low-income adolescents (odds ratios, 2.85, 2.83, and 2.44, respectively). The odds of visual acuity worse than 20/40 in the better-seeing eye were increased for Black, Mexican American, and non-U.S. citizen adolescents (odds ratios, 2.13, 2.13, and 1.96, respectively).

“Physicians caring for adolescent children should be aware of the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in vision. Improving access to vision care services may decrease the burden of preventable visual impairment extending into adulthood,” the authors write.

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