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Years since eye examination

Codes and Frequencies

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EYEXAMYRS reports the amount of time since the last eye examination. Interviewers asked, "About how long has it been since [person] had [his/her] eyes examined to see if [he/she] needed (new) glasses? (Include any eye exams given in school.)" The parts of the question appearing in parentheses were to be used only as appropriate (i.e., for school age children), according to the 1973 and 1982 Field Representative's Manuals.

The 1983 Manual instructed interviewers:

Indicate the length of time since the person last had his/her eyes examined, regardless of where it was done or who did it. For example, if the respondent mentioned he had his eyes examined during the test for a driver's license, include this in question 10.

In both 1973 and 1982, the question for EYEXAMYRS was part of a survey section dealing with the use of preventive care services. For the preventive care supplement in both 1973 and 1982, for persons age 17 and older, interviewers were directed to interview persons directly rather than relying on proxy reporting. See CXRAYRS for more information.

Other variables in the 1973 and 1982 surveys that report time since specific types of preventive care include: CXRAYRS (for chest x-ray), GLAUCTESTYRS (for glaucoma test), and EKGYRS (for electrocardiogram).

For 1973, responses to the question on years since last eye exam were topcoded at 10+ years in the NHIS public use files created by the National Center for Health Statistics. Single year responses up to 94+ years for years since last eye test are available for 1982, in EYEXAMYREX.


While the question wording and universe for EYEXAMYRS were identical for 1973 and 1982, there may have been differences in how responses to this question were collected and recorded. The 1973 Manual did not discuss how to record answers for EYEXAMYRS specifically, but the directions for recording answers to other questions in the preventive care supplement prompted interviewers to record full years only. By contrast, the 1982 Manual directed interviewers to press for exact responses and record fractions of years for questions in the preventive care supplement. For further information on this point, see EKGYRS and CXRAYRS.


  • 1973; 1982: Persons age 3+.


  • 1973, 1982