Uncorrected refractive errors and spectacle utilisation rate in Tehran: the unmet need

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Abstract

Aim:

To determine the prevalence of the met and unmet need for spectacles and their associated factors in the population of Tehran.

Methods:

6497 Tehran citizens were enrolled through random cluster sampling and were invited to a clinic for an interview and ophthalmic examination. 4354 (70.3%) participated in the survey, and refraction measurement results of 4353 people aged 5 years and over are presented. The unmet need for spectacles was defined as the proportion of people who did not use spectacles despite a correctable visual acuity of worse than 20/40 in the better eye.

Results:

The need for spectacles in the studied population, standardised for age and sex, was 14.1% (95% confidence interval (CI), 12.8% to 15.4%). This need was met with appropriate spectacles in 416 people (9.3% of the total sample), while it was unmet in 230 people, representing 4.8% of the total sample population (95% CI, 4.1% to 5.4%). The spectacle coverage rate (met need/(met need + unmet need)) was 66.0%. Multivariate logistic regression showed that variables of age, education, and type of refractive error were associated with lack of spectacle correction. There was an increase in the unmet need with older age, lesser education, and myopia.

Conclusion:

This survey determined the met and unmet need for spectacles in a Tehran population. It also identified high risk groups with uncorrected refractive errors to guide intervention programmes for the society. While the study showed the unmet need for spectacles and its determinants, more extensive studies towards the causes of unmet need are recommended.

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