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Open Access Research article

Eye care utilization patterns in Tehran population: a population based cross-sectional study

Akbar Fotouhi1*, Hassan Hashemi23 and Kazem Mohammad1

Author Affiliations

1 Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Farabi Eye Hospital, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Noor Vision Correction Center, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Ophthalmology 2006, 6:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-6-4

Published: 20 January 2006

Abstract

Background

The aim of this study is to determine eye care visits which are an indicator of eye care service utilization by Tehran population and its determinants.

Methods

Through a population-based, cross-sectional study, 6497 Tehran citizens were sampled. All participants had complete eye examinations and an interview regarding demographic and socioeconomic status variables, past medical and eye history, and their previous and last eye care visits.

Results

Among those sampled, 4565 people participated in the study (response rate of 70.3%). Among these participants, 34.7 % had never visited an ophthalmologist or optometrist (95% confidence interval [CI]: 32.4 to 36.9) and 43.2% had not seen an eye care provider in the last 5 years. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that men (OR = 1.30), younger participants (each year increase in age: OR = 0.98) and the less educated (each year increase in education: OR = 0.93) were more likely, and the visually impaired were less likely (OR = 0.41) to have neglected eye care.

Conclusion

A large proportion of the population, including those in the high risk group who require eye care, has never utilized any eye care service. These data suggest that efforts have to be made to better understand the causes and to optimize the utilization of the available eye care services in the population.