Impact of car transport availability and drive time on eye examination uptake among adults aged ≥60 years: a record linkage study

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Abstract

Aim
To examine associations between uptake of free primary eye care, service availability (density of optometric practices) and service accessibility (household car access and drive time to nearest provider) after accounting for socioeconomic status and other individual, household and area factors.

Methods
We constructed a cohort of 294 870 community-dwelling adults aged 60 years, drawing contextual information from the 2011 Northern Ireland Census. Minimum drive times to the nearest optometry practice (1–19 min) and number of practices were derived for 890 geographical areas. The primary outcome was attendance at one or more publicly funded eye examinations to which all cohort members were entitled between 2009 and 2014. We used multiple log-binomial regression to estimate associations between eye care uptake, car ownership and drive time.

Results
Eye examination uptake was 60.0%. 23.7% of the cohort had no car access, and these individuals had lower uptake than car owners (unadjusted risk ratio (RR) of uptake=0.86 (0.86, 0.87)). Among non-car owners, uptake decreased with drive time (longest vs shortest: RR=0.92 (0.88, 0.97)) with the largest decrease at 4 min drive time (approximately 1.5 miles). This pattern was weaker among car owners. These associations were independent of service availability, which was not associated with uptake.

Conclusion
Both drive time and household car access were associated with eye care use, adjusting for individual, household and area factors. Policies to improve uptake should target those with no car access, especially those beyond walking distance from the nearest eye care provider.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Early online date03 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 03 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • public health

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