More Than Meets The Eye: Has the Eye Care Policy in Scotland Had Wider Health Benefits?

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Abstract

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, accounting for over a quarter of all deaths both worldwide and in the UK. This study examines the effect of eye examinations in diagnosing hypertension. Eye examinations and hypertension are correlated, since people diagnosed with high blood pressure are advised to have their eyes tested and also eye examinations may lead to the prognosis of potential problems related to blood pressure. The study uses the Scottish eye care policy introduced in 2006 as a quasiexperiment. The analysis is based on the British Household Panel Survey. Difference-indifference regression analysis was used in the multivariate analysis of the impact of free eye examinations on the diagnosis of hypertension. The eye care policy led to an increase in both blood pressure examinations (around 7 percentage points) and in the reporting of high blood pressure (around 3 percentage points). This is evident only for the people from high-income households. The findings provide evidence of the wider health benefits and cost savings that an eye examination can achieve through the early detection of hypertension. The results also suggest that the disparate uptake of eye examinations across income groups not only widens inequalities in eye health, but may also widen inequalities in other health conditions.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen Business School
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Publication series

NameDiscussion Paper in Economics
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen
No.1
Volume18
ISSN (Electronic)0143-4543

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Keywords

  • Eye Examinations
  • Hypertension
  • Preventive Care
  • Natural Experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Dickey, H. S., Norwood, P. F., Watson, V., & Zangelidis, A. (2018). More Than Meets The Eye: Has the Eye Care Policy in Scotland Had Wider Health Benefits? (Discussion Paper in Economics; Vol. 18, No. 1). University of Aberdeen Business School.