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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2015, Article ID 435606, 4 pages
Research Article

Inconsistencies Exist in National Estimates of Eye Care Services Utilization in the United States

1College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 984350 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-4350, USA
2School of Public Health, City University of New York, 55 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027, USA

Received 5 May 2015; Revised 21 July 2015; Accepted 26 July 2015

Academic Editor: Antonio Benito

Copyright © 2015 Fernando A. Wilson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. There are limited research and substantial uncertainty about the level of eye care utilization in the United States. Objectives. Our study estimated eye care utilization using, to our knowledge, every known nationally representative, publicly available database with information on office-based optometry or ophthalmology services. Research Design. We analyzed the following national databases to estimate eye care utilization: the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), Joint Canada/US Survey of Health (JCUSH), Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS). Subjects. US adults aged 18 and older. Measures. Self-reported utilization of eye care services. Results. The weighted number of adults seeing or talking with any eye doctor ranges from 87.9 million to 99.5 million, and the number of visits annually ranges from 72.9 million to 142.6 million. There were an estimated 17.2 million optometry visits and 55.8 million ophthalmology visits. Conclusions. The definitions and estimates of eye care services vary widely across national databases, leading to substantial differences in national estimates of eye care utilization.