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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


LATORRE-ARTEAGA, Sergio; FERNANDEZ-SAEZ, José  and  GIL-GONZALEZ, Diana. Inequities in visual health and health services use in a rural region in Spain. Gac Sanit [online]. 2018, vol.32, n.5, pp.439-446.  Epub Dec 07, 2020. ISSN 0213-9111.


To analyse perceived visual health and health services use in a rural population in relation to socioeconomic characteristics and compared with the general population in Spain.


Cross-sectional study in a rural population using a structured questionnaire including questions comparable to the Spanish National Health Survey (2012). A descriptive analysis was carried out through the calculation of frequencies and prevalence, the χ2 test for independent variables, contrasts of proportions and logistic regression to obtain associations between the rural and general populations and socioeconomic variables.


For the rural population studied, the prevalence of poor perceptions of visual health is 40.8% in men and 39.4% in women, and is strongly associated with age, employment situation, income and presence of chronic diseases (p<0.001). Compared with the general population, the rural population has a higher risk of presenting with serious difficulties related to farsightedness (OR: 2.56; 95% CI: 1.32-4.95) and make less use of optical correction (OR: 0.57; 95%CI: 0.44-0.74). The use of health services is not sufficient for adequate prevention, particularly in diabetics. For those affected by poor vision, the distance to travel to receive an eye exam, the belief that eyesight problems come with age and the cost of glasses are the principal reasons used to explain why eyesight problems are not resolved.


The rural population presents worse visual health that is influenced by social and economic factors. Improving accessibility and reducing barriers is essential to tackle avoidable visual disability and reduce health inequities.

Keywords : Rural population; Vision disorders; Health services; Social determinants.

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