Disparities in Vision Health and Eye Care

Elsevier, Ophthalmology, Volume 129, October 2022
Elam A.R., Tseng V.L., Rodriguez T.M., Mike E.V., Warren A.K., Coleman A.L. et al.

Health disparities exist across all fields of medicine; ophthalmology and vision health are no exception. A health disparity is a difference in health outcomes that arises from health inequities that affect medically underserved populations.1 A health inequity is the unfair distribution of health determinants, outcomes, and resources between and within different segments of a population based on social, economic, environmental, and structural factors.2 The goal of eliminating health disparities is to achieve health equity, which can be defined as a state in which every individual has a just and fair opportunity to achieve their best health. Attaining this goal requires removing social, political, and structural barriers as well as differences in health and health care–related resources, access, and use.3 The purpose of this paper is to outline the existing disparities in vision health and eye care, explore the possible reasons for these disparities, offer potential solutions, and ultimately stimulate the ophthalmology, eye care, and vision sciences community to move forward toward achieving equity in eye and vision health. Our goal is to engage our broader community in continuously narrowing health inequities to eliminate vision health disparities.