A paradoxical change in economic inequality in presenting visual acuity between 2009 and 2014: a nonuseful decline
1Hypertension Research Center, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Islamic Republic of Iran.
2Ophthalmic Epidemiology Research Center, Shahroud University of Medical Sciences, Shahroud, Islamic Republic of Iran.
3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
4Noor Ophthalmology Research Center, Noor Eye Hospital, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
Background: Despite the widespread literate on health inequalities and their determinants, changes in health inequalities over time have not received enough attention.
Aims: To measure and decompose the over-time changes in economic inequality in presenting visual acuity measured using Logarithm of the Minimum Angle of Resolution.
Methods: We analysed 4706 participants who had complete data on presenting visual acuity and economic status in 2009 and 2014 in the Shahroud Eye Cohort Study. We measured changes in presenting visual acuity concentration indices and decomposed them the using a longitudinal approach.
Results: Both the presenting visual acuity and economic status deteriorated between 2009 and 2014. The mean (standard deviation) for presenting visual acuity and economic status scores in 2009 versus 2014 were 0.090 (0.2) versus 0.103 (0.2) and 0.01 (1.0) versus 0.0005 (1.07), respectively. Presenting visual acuity concentration index (95% confidence interval) in the first versus second phases of the study were -0.245 (-0.212 to -0.278) versus -0.195 (-0.165 to -0.225), respectively. Longitudinal decomposition of this change in concentration indices during the 5-year period indicated that the most important contributor to reduction in economic inequality of presenting visual acuity was deterioration of presenting visual acuity among people with higher economic status due to their ageing.
Conclusion: Unexpectedly, reduction in economic inequality in presenting visual acuity was due to presenting visual acuity deterioration among the higher economic status group rather than its amelioration among the lower economic status group. Therefore, the needs of all socioeconomic groups should be considered separately to modify presenting visual acuity in each group and, consequently, reduce the economic inequality in presenting visual acuity.
Keywords: economic inequality; health inequality; longitudinal analysis; presenting visual acuity; socioeconomics.