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Measuring Access to Eye Care: A Public Health Perspective

To address a variety of demands from patients, providers, and policymakers, it is necessary to account for potential access and realized access measures. We need to adopt new methods in assessing the relationship between contextual characteristics and use of eye care services. Moreover, we need to better understand patients’ preferences and their relationship with utilization and health outcomes.


In the context of eye care, access can be conveniently divided into two parts using a modified behavioral access framework: potential access and realized access. Potential access refers to people’s "potential" to use eye care services and includes individual and contextual characteristics. Realized, in contrast to potential, access is manifested by people’s actual use of eye care services, correlated outcomes, and patients’ satisfaction associated with received services and noticed outcomes. Realized access could be strongly influenced by people’s potential access, including both contextual and individual characteristics.

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Zhang X, Andersen R, Saaddine JB, Beckles GL, Duenas MR, Lee PP. Measuring access to eye care: a public health perspective. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2008;15(6):418–425.


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