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Socioeconomic disparities in cataract surgery.

Desai, Neal; Copeland, Robert A.
Curr Opin Ophthalmol; 24(1): 74-8, 2013 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | 2013 | ID: mdl-23108314
Resumo: PURPOSE OF REVIEW: As the elderly population continues to grow in the USA, an understanding of the increasing burden of cataract is pivotal. This review seeks to iterate the presence of this burden and to understand it better in the context of race, sex, and socioeconomic factors. RECENT FINDINGS: Although there have been multiple prevalence studies addressing the cataract burden in the USA, updated literature that directly elucidates the above issues has been sparse. Recent data support previous findings that the cataract burden among women is greater than that of men, likely predominantly due to greater longevity. With regard to race, there appears to be a slightly increased burden among Whites, although this increase may show regional variability and change over the next few decades, especially as the presently young Hispanic population continues to age and grow. It is likely that the significant divider responsible for unmet cataract surgery is socioeconomic, due to such factors as insurance coverage, income, and barriers to access such as transportation, service accessibility, and awareness. These latter barriers of income and access appear to be identical to those identified in developing countries. SUMMARY: The cataract burden in the USA is significant and is expected to continue to grow. Further studies are warranted to help us better understand barriers to access, particularly with regard to race and socioeconomic factors. Local efforts to address education and logistical barriers as well as nationwide policy efforts to address insurance coverage appear to be a crucial factor in surmounting an ongoing but treatable chronic disease.