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Relationship between Unstable Housing, Food Insecurity, and Vision Status in the MI-SIGHT Community Eye Disease Screening Program.

Ophthalmology 2023 September 13
PURPOSE: Assess rate of visual impairment (VI) from uncorrected refractive error (URE) and associations with demographic and socioeconomic factors among low-income patients presenting to the Michigan Screening and Intervention for Glaucoma and eye Health through Telemedicine (MI-SIGHT) program.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

PARTICIPANTS: Adults ≥ 18 years without acute ocular symptoms.

METHODS: MI-SIGHT program participants received a telemedicine-based eye disease screening and ordered glasses through an online optical shop. Participants were categorized based on refractive error (RE) status: VI from URE (presenting visual acuity [PVA] ≤ 20/50, best corrected visual acuity [BCVA] ≥ 20/40), URE without VI (PVA ≥ 20/40, had ≥ 2 lines of improvement to BCVA), and no or adequately corrected RE (PVA ≥ 20/40, < 2 line improvement to BCVA). Patient demographics, self-reported visual function, and satisfaction with glasses obtained through the program were compared between groups using analysis of variance, Kruskal-Wallis, chi-square, and Fisher exact testing.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: PVA, BCVA, and presence of VI (defined as PVA ≤ 20/50).

RESULTS: Of 1171 participants enrolled in the MI-SIGHT program during the first year, the average age was 55.1 years (standard deviation = 14.5), 37.7% were male, 54.1% identified as Black, and 1166 (99.6%) had both PVA and BCVA measured. VI was observed in 120 (10.3%); 96 had VI from URE (8.2%), 168 (14.4%) had URE without VI, and 878 (75.3%) had no or adequately corrected RE. A smaller percentage of participants with VI from URE reported having a college degree and a larger percentage reported income < $10,000 compared to participants with no or adequately corrected RE (3.2% versus 14.2%, P = 0.02; 45.5% versus 21.6%, respectively, P < 0.0001. Visual function was lowest among participants with VI from URE, followed by those with URE without VI, and then those with no or adequately corrected RE (VFQ9 composite score 67.3 ± 19.6 versus 77.0 ± 14.4 versus 82.2 ± 13.3, respectively; P < 0.0001). 71.2% (n = 830) ordered glasses for an average cost of $36.80 ± $32.60; 97.7% were satisfied with their glasses.

CONCLUSIONS: URE was the main cause of VI at two clinics serving low-income communities and was associated with reduced vision-related quality of life. An online optical shop with lower prices made eyeglasses accessible to low-income patients.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found in the Footnotes and Disclosures at the end of this article.

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