Characteristics Associated with Barriers to Eye Care: A Cross-Sectional Survey at a Free Vision Screening Event

Limited access to regular eye care due to social determinants of health is an underexamined issue in ophthalmology. This study included a cross-sectional survey at a 2-day free eye clinic event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where adult patients seeking vision screening participated. The participants, mostly self-identified as Black or White, reported barriers to eye care, with medical costs and insurance issues being the most common. Not having health insurance or vision insurance was strongly associated with reporting barriers to care. Patients with self-reported eye disease faced transportation difficulties, and employed participants struggled to take time off work for eye exams. Compared to Black race, White race was associated with a higher likelihood of reporting barriers to care. The findings emphasize the need to address social determinants of health to improve access to eye care for vulnerable populations.

Publication date

September 5, 2022


Ophthalmic Research

Sponsor Institution

Henry L. Hillman Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Eye and Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh, Research to Prevent Blindness


Sarah Atta; Haniah A. Zaheer ; Owen Clinger; Peggy J. Liu ; Evan L. Waxman ; Dana McGinnis-Thomas; José-Alain Sahel ; Andrew M. Williams
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