BACKGROUNDS: To assess the role of socio-economic inequality in visual impairment (VI) in Varamin district, Iran.
Patients and Methods: Using multistage cluster sampling method, 60 clusters (each with 50 subjects) were recruited and underwent clinical eye examinations. Socio-economic status (SES) was identified based on education, occupation, family assets and housing conditions that were measured at the participants’ households using a semi-structured questionnaire and a two-step cluster analysis model. In addition, principal component analysis and the concentration index were used to identify the gap between high and low SES groups.
RESULTS: Participants were categorized in high (522, 24.4%), moderate (974, 43.1%) and low (763, 33.7%) socio-economic levels. In these levels, the prevalence of VI was 5.9% (95% CI: 3.3 to 8.6), 10.4% (95% CI: 8.4 to 12.4), and 12.6% (95% CI: 10.1 to 15.1), respectively. The prevalence of VI in people with low SES was significantly greater than those in high SES level. The proportions of avoidable causes were relatively high in all SES levels (more than 80%) with no significant difference between different levels.
CONCLUSIONS: There is significant inequality in VI prevalence in Varamin district. Avoidable causes are high in all SES groups. Therefore, community-based modalities and preventive programs with a specific notice to poorer SES groups are recommended to improve eye health in this district.