Background: Glaucoma is one of the most leading causes of permanent visual impairments in Korea, and social expenses spent for the glaucoma are increasing. This study is to identify association between socioeconomic status and the visual impairments caused by primary glaucoma in Korea. Methods: This study is based on a cohort study using stratified representative samples in the National Health Insurance claim data from 2002 to 2013 with 1,025,340 representative subjects. Target subjects were patients who are newly diagnosed with primary glaucoma from 2004 to 2013. We conducted a multiple logistic regression analysis depending on the occurrence of visual impairment and its temporal order compared to the glaucoma diagnosis. Results: Among 1728 patients with primary glaucoma, those with low and middle income shows higher odds ratio (OR) of the visual impairments than those with high income group (low income; OR = 3.42, 95% Confidential Interval (CI):2.06-5.66, middle income; OR = 2.13, 95% CI: 1.28-3.55), in case of the occurrence of the visual impairments preceded the diagnosis of glaucoma. Conclusions: Glaucoma patients without pre-existing glaucoma history before visual impairment have higher association between socioeconomic status and the occurrence of visual impairments by primary glaucoma. Since glaucoma had not been diagnosed and recognized yet, the differences may have been derived from the disparities of the awareness of the glaucoma. These findings call attention to the correlation between socioeconomic factors and the visual impairments by glaucoma, and raise public health needs over the importance of glaucoma awareness and eye screening for glaucoma, especially for low socioeconomic status.
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© 2017 The Author(s).
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