Objective: To determine the sociodemographic and health behavioural factors associated with access to and utilisation of eye care in Korea. Design: Nationwide cross-sectional study Methods: 25 752 Koreans over the age of 30 were assessed from a national representative survey. We analysed independent variables of self-reporting eye clinic visits through multivariable analyses of sociodemographic factors. The time since the last visit to an eye clinic was used to assess access to and utilisation of eye care. Results: Of the 25 752 respondents, 8237 (32.0%) visited an eye clinic in the past year, 11 028 (42.8%) were seen more than 1 year ago, while 6487 (25.2%) had never seen an ophthalmologist. Eye clinic utilisation was statistically associated with older age, female sex, higher household income, higher education levels, living in an urban area, and having comorbidities including diabetes and hypertension. Middle-aged men between 30 and 49 years were found to be less likely to receive eye care compared to the rest of the population, and the proportion that did plummeted after the financial crisis of 2007. Conclusions: There is a substantial sociodemographic disparity in eye care utilisation in Korea, and men with low financial income and education level are especially at risk. Use of eye care among middle-aged men has decreased since the global financial crisis that began in 2007, and therefore healthcare policies and public interventions should be targeted at vulnerable groups to promote access to medical care.
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