One in Four Toronto Homeless Have Vision Problems

A survey by Saint Michael’s Hospital in Toronto found that 25% of homeless people have vision problems, rising to 35% when other eye abnormalities are included. This is four times higher than the North American average.

Of the respondents in need of vision care, 40% would benefit from glasses or contact lenses while 8% required urgent referral to an ophthalmologist. One in three respondents had been previously diagnosed with vision problems.

61 respondents had worn prescription glasses in the past. 43 reported that their glasses had been lost, stolen or broken and could not afford a replacement.

Researchers recommend introducing mobile eye screening centres, which include free eye exams and corrective eyewear. Similar programs have been successful in the United States, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica and South Africa.

Only 14% of those surveyed had visited an ophthalmologist or optometrist within the last year compared with 41% of the general population. 89% of respondents expressed an interest in free eye exams.

For more information: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150205123111.htm

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