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Saw/talked to eye doctor, past 12 months

Codes and Frequencies

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SAWEYEDR identifies sample children and sample adults who, during the last twelve months, had seen or talked to "an optometrist, optician, or eye doctor (someone who prescribes eye glasses)" (for 1997-1999) or to "an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or eye doctor (someone who prescribes eye glasses)" (for 2000 forward).

Related Variables

SAWEYEDR is one of several variables identifying specific types of health care practitioners that respondents had consulted in the previous twelve months. Interviewers began the series of questions by saying, "During the past 12 months, that is, since [12 month reference date], have you seen or talked to any of the following health care providers about your own/[sample child's] health?"


Other types of health care practitioners identified in the survey are: "a chiropractor" (SAWCHIR); "a general doctor who treats variety of illnesses (a doctor in general practice, family medicine, or internal medicine)" (SAWGEN); "a foot doctor" (SAWFOOT); "a doctor who specializes in women's health (an obstetrician/gynecologist)"(SAWGYN); "a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, or clinical social worker" (SAWMENT); "a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or midwife" (SAWRNPA); "a physical therapist, speech therapist, respiratory therapist, audiologist, or occupational therapist" (SAWTHERA); and "a medical doctor who specializes in a particular medical disease or problem (other than obstetrician/gynecologist, psychiatrist, or ophthalmologist)" (SAWSPEC).

If the respondent had seen more than one type of health professional during a single visit, each of these practitioners was to be reported separately. As the Field Representative's Manual for 1997-2000 explained, "If the Sample Adult saw a physician's assistant who checked his temperature and blood pressure before seeing the general practitioner, count this as both 'a general doctor...' and 'a ... physician's assistant,' even though they were both seen on the same visit." The Manual for 2001 forward made the same point: "if the Sample Child saw a physician's assistant for a physical exam before seeing the general practitioner (physician) for further diagnosis, count this as both 'a general practitioner' and 'a physician's assistant.'"


In addition to universe changes, the wording of the question changed, as noted above, with opticians mentioned for 1997-1999 and ophthalmologists mentioned for 2000 forward. Still, prior to 2000, visits to ophthalmologists were probably usually included in this category. The most logical alternative category, visits to a medical specialist ("a medical doctor who specializes in a particular medical disease or problem"), explicitly excluded ophthalmologists.


  • 1997-2018: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children under age 18.


  • 1997-2018