Influence of Socioeconomic Deprivation on Visual Acuity in Patients Undergoing Corneal Transplantation

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Abstract

Purpose:

To determine whether there is an association between socioeconomic status and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) in patients undergoing corneal transplantation in the United Kingdom.

Methods:

Retrospective cohort study of 4306 patients registered on the national United Kingdom Transplant Registry and undergoing penetrating keratoplasty, anterior lamellar keratoplasty, or endothelial keratoplasty in 2002, 2008, and 2013. Socioeconomic status was determined by applying a validated deprivation index to generate a score based on 5 categories. Patients' demographic details, preoperative BCVA, copathology, surgical center volume, and socioeconomic status were analyzed for univariate effects of categorical and continuous variables. Binary logistic regression was used to determine whether preoperative BCVA was affected by socioeconomic status after adjusting for other factors.

Results:

A larger percentage of the most deprived group was female in each period compared with the least deprived, but this was only significant in 2002 (48.7% vs. 40.3%; P = 0.04). There was no interaction between socioeconomic status and the preoperative BCVA in the grafted eye. However, BCVA in the fellow eye was poorer for the most economically deprived patients compared with the least deprived in 2013 (P = 0.01).

Conclusions:

We found no evidence of a relationship between socioeconomic deprivation and BCVA in the transplant recipient eye. However, there was clear evidence of an association between socioeconomic deprivation and reduced acuity in fellow eyes, for which barriers to access or low patient demand may be possible contributors.

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