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September 9, 2011

Study Finds Better Access to Eye Care Today

In a recently published article in the Journal of Community Health, Online First, Dr. Mort Soroka, Director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the SUNY College of Optometry, stated that access to eye care services in New York State has improved significantly during the past 30 years as the supply of optometrists increased. This, according to Dr. Soroka, could not have been accomplished without the existence of the SUNY College of Optometry. His findings were the result of a comprehensive analysis of the State’s current optometry workforce .

According to Dr. Soroka, several databases were used and a web-based survey was developed for completion by all optometrists. There was a response rate of more than 90%.

One of the findings from the survey demonstrated that there are 37% more optometrists in New York State than ophthalmologists – a statistic once contrary to public belief. In addition, optometrists are located in nearly every county in the State. Sixteen counties have no ophthalmologists.

“With health care reform on the horizon, there is concern whether the existing supply of health care providers will be sufficient to provide care to millions of newly insured individuals. With the demand for eye care increasing due to the growing aging population, coupled with increased insurance coverage for care, the need for eye care providers is apparent,” said Dr. Soroka.

The SUNY College of Optometry, founded in 1971, provides more than 60% of optometrists for New York State.