Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Finds Most Americans Have Good Vision, But 14 Million Are Visually Impaired

Date:
May 10, 2006
Source:
NIH/National Eye Institute
Summary:
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study has found that although 94 percent of Americans aged 12 and older have good vision, the remaining six percent, or 14 million, are visually impaired. Of these, more than 11 million have uncorrected visual impairment, such as nearsightedness. They need eyeglasses or contact lenses to improve their vision.

A phoropter is a machine used to detect refractive errors.
Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study has found that although 94 percent of Americans aged 12 and older have good vision, the remaining six percent, or 14 million, are visually impaired. Of these, more than 11 million have uncorrected visual impairment, such as nearsightedness. They need eyeglasses or contact lenses to improve their vision. Teenagers, people with diabetes, Hispanics, and people who are economically disadvantaged have higher rates of visual impairment and can most benefit from corrective lenses. This study is published in the May 10, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of the NIH, said, "This is the first national survey on vision since the mid-1970s, and it confirms that uncorrected visual impairment is a major public health problem. The good news is that we now have information on the extent of visual impairment in the United States that will be available to policymakers as they seek to address health care issues at the local, state, and national levels."

This study, designed and supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the NIH, was part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an ongoing survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 15,000 people participated in the survey from 1999 to 2002. They were interviewed in their homes and were invited to undergo a comprehensive health examination in a mobile examination center (MEC). More than 14,000 reported to a MEC, and more than 13,000 completed visual acuity tests.

Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of vision research at NIH, said, "This study found that most people who have a visual impairment could achieve good vision with proper eyeglasses or contact lenses. So, if you have trouble seeing, you should get your eyes examined as soon as possible. It may be that corrective lenses will improve your vision. But, if you do have an eye disease, the sooner it is found, the more likely it is that treatment can help preserve your vision."

The study authors made the following recommendations:

  • Health care professionals should talk to their patients about the importance of eye health and encourage them to participate in routine vision screenings and eye examinations.
  • People who already wear eyeglasses or contact lenses should return to their eye care professional for periodic eye examinations.
  • Efforts to increase public awareness about the importance of routine eye examinations should be undertaken.
  • Vision screening opportunities for the public should be expanded.

Percent of people with visual impairment that CAN be corrected with glasses/contact lenses
Race/Ethnicity
Hispanic 88.2%
Black 83.7%
White 83.6%
Other 88.6%

Age (years)
12-19 years 93.1%
20-39 years 90.0%
40-59 years 92.4%
60+ years 59.5%

Income
Below poverty level 84.1%
At or near poverty level 80.1%
Over (two times) poverty level 88.7%

Mary Frances Cotch, Ph.D., chief of the NEI's epidemiology branch and one of the study authors, concluded, "Providing corrective lenses to people who need them is an important public health issue with implications for safety and quality of life."

The National Eye Institute (NEI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is the Federal government's lead agency for vision research that leads to sight-saving treatments and plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness. For more information, visit the NEI Website at http://www.nei.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) "The Nation's Medical Research Agency" includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Eye Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Eye Institute. "Study Finds Most Americans Have Good Vision, But 14 Million Are Visually Impaired." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060510091205.htm>.
NIH/National Eye Institute. (2006, May 10). Study Finds Most Americans Have Good Vision, But 14 Million Are Visually Impaired. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060510091205.htm
NIH/National Eye Institute. "Study Finds Most Americans Have Good Vision, But 14 Million Are Visually Impaired." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060510091205.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins