Victoria Ly, MD, MPH, explains potential next steps for her research on vision screening follow-up rate disparities among children in Arkansas.
A literature review revealed cost was a barrier inhibiting some parents from seeking follow-up eye care for their children after a failed vision screening test, said Victoria Ly, MD, MPH, an intern resident physician at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in ophthalmology.
Would efforts to increase Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment help close the gap in vision screening follow-up disparities?
In my opinion, I think my study cannot exactly say that for sure. My study just determined association, not necessarily causation. But in my literature review, there were some studies that showed that parents found that the perceived barriers included affording care. So it's very possible that increasing CHIP enrollment could close the gap in the follow-up eye care for kids.
What are the next steps for your research?
The next steps I think more appropriately would be to expand the project to a more longitudinal study. It could follow a cohort of students who had failed their school vision screening, and then to wrap up the project, possibly implementing a survey that's given to the parents of those students. They could report their demographics, socioeconomic background, [and] what they perceive as barriers for their eye care. Then that could help direct what, hopefully, our public health leaders will look at so that they can improve accessibility for children who need better eye care. As far as investigating the rates in other states, I did move from Arkansas to Texas for my residency, and there is a Texas mandate for school vision screenings, so it's on the drawing board for potential studies that I could pick up later in the future.