Cost keeps many U.S. adults from eye care

Published: May 19, 2011 at 11:09 PM

ATLANTA, May 19 (UPI) -- Cost, or the lack of health insurance, keeps many U.S. adults from getting eye examinations, putting their vision at risk, health officials say.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, says survey data indicate many people with visual impairment report not seeking eye care because of the cost, lack of health insurance, or the perception that they did not need care.

"People ages 40-64 are most likely to cite cost or lack of insurance as a barrier to eye care, while people ages 65 and older -- the age group with highest prevalence of moderate to severe visual impairment -- were most likely to say they did not need eye care," the report says. "Residents of Massachusetts, which has the smallest proportion of uninsured people because of mandated health insurance were least likely to cite cost or lack of health insurance as a barrier to eye care."

CDC health officials say it is important to have people age 40 and older with risk of any age-related eye disease -- or chronic disease that affects the eyes, such as diabetes -- get regular comprehensive eye exams. Many serious eye diseases can be detected before symptoms appear and treated to reduce visual impairment, the report says.

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