Sociodemographic factors may predict vision difficulty in children

Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus

Results from a large US-based health survey indicate that among children, race/ethnicity, region, and economic stability, among other factors, may have an effect on the development of vision difficulties.

Study design

This retrospective, cross-sectional study used 2021 National Health Interview Survey data collected about 7373 participants aged <18 years who reported (or their caregivers reported) whether or not they had experienced vision difficulty. Independent variables that were collected included demographic information, family health care coverage and income, and highest level of education of adults in the household.


In total, 4.5% of the included children reported vision difficulty. Older children were more likely to have vision difficulty than children aged <5 years. Black/African American and Hispanic race/ethnicity, family Medicaid or no insurance coverage, presence of food insecurity, and lower adult education levels were associated with higher odds of having vision difficulty. Children in the Northeast region had lower odds of having vision difficulty than children living in other geographic regions.


The findings are based on data from a survey that relies on voluntary responses. In addition, the data were not collected directly from the child, but from the parent/guardian.

Clinical significance

There are many socioeconomic factors that affect visual function and outcomes in children. As providers, it is important to recognize barriers to care and to help patients and their families with strategies to improve access and compliance for best visual outcomes.

Financial Disclosures: Dr. Brenda Bohnsack discloses no financial relationships.

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