US study examines vision testing rates in children

Lower rates of vision testing were found among children whose families did not have health insurance

A child’s hand colours in a drawing next to a glass jar containing different coloured crayons
Pixabay/Aline Ponce

New research published in JAMA Ophthalmology has found a link between the insurance status of parents or caregivers and their child’s access to vision testing.

The study by US researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Utah involved pooling data from the 2018 to 2020 National Survey of Children’s Health.

Parents or caregivers were asked, “During the past 12 months, has this child had his or her vision tested, such as with pictures, shapes, or letters?”

Among the sample of 89,936 parents and caregivers with children between the ages of three and 17, only 30% had received primary care physician vision testing.

Those with no insurance were 40% less likely to have taken their child for vision testing than those with private insurance.

Among children aged between three and five, 30% of children without insurance had received vision testing, compared to 42% of privately insured children.

“Results of this analysis build on studies reporting an association between insurance status and unmet eye care needs,” the authors highlighted.