Study Highlights Social Determinants Impacting Eye Care Access for Diabetic Adults

Study Highlights Social Determinants Impacting Eye Care Access for Diabetic Adults

December 04, 2023

A recent study published online in JAMA Ophthalmology sheds light on the significant influence of social determinants of health on the likelihood of receiving eye care among adults with type 2 diabetes. Conducted by Rohith Ravindranath and a team from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, the research delves into factors ranging from food and housing insecurity to mental health concerns and the perceived importance of practitioner concordance.

The study, which included 11,551 adults participating in the All of Us Research Program, aimed to evaluate the associations between visiting an eye care practitioner for diabetic retinopathy screening and broader aspects of overall health and social determinants.

Key findings from the analysis revealed that individuals who considered practitioner concordance somewhat or very important were less likely to have seen an eye care practitioner. Specifically, those who deemed it somewhat important had an adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of 0.83, while those who found it very important had an aOR of 0.85.

Moreover, participants experiencing food or housing insecurity were less likely to visit an eye care practitioner compared to financially stable counterparts. Food insecurity showed an aOR of 0.75, and housing insecurity had an aOR of 0.86.

The study also highlighted the impact of mental health on eye care access. Individuals reporting fair mental health were found to be less likely to visit an eye care practitioner, with an aOR of 0.84, compared to those reporting good mental health.

These findings underscore the complex interplay between social determinants and healthcare utilization among individuals with diabetes. The study suggests that addressing issues such as food and housing insecurity, mental health concerns, and the importance of practitioner concordance is crucial in ensuring equitable access to eye care for this population.

"Such findings highlight the self-reported barriers to seeking care and the importance of taking steps to promote health equity," the authors concluded.


Rohith Ravindranath et al, Social Determinants of Health and Perceived Barriers to Care in Diabetic Retinopathy Screening, JAMA Ophthalmology (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2023.5287