VISION LOSS and PUBLIC HEALTH
In a CDC study of vision, aging and public health, it was found that the prevalence of moderate or extreme vision loss in the US ranged from 5.4% to 16% (2006-2008 BRFSS data). Eye disease affected more than 2.9 million with blindness and vision impairment increasing rapidly with age. Early age-related macular degeneration is expected to double by 2050, from 9.1 million to 17.8 million for those over 50. Diabetic retinopathy is expected to quadruple by 2050, from 2.5 million to 9.9 million for those over 65. Glaucoma was 6.8% to 12.3% for people over 65. In addition, Vision loss is associated with higher chronic conditions, death, falls, injuries, depression, and social isolation resulting in overall poorer health and higher medical costs. Quality of life is reduced by one’s ability to read, drive, watch television, and manage personal tasks. The CDC study also determined that older adults who report moderate or extreme vision loss are no more likely than those with no vision loss to get eye exams. Among older adults who reported moderate or extreme vision loss: 1) 35.9% said their main reason for not seeing an eye care provider in the last 12 months was that they had no reason to go. 2) 23.5% said that cost or insurance concerns prevented them from seeking eye care, and 3) 7.5% said they had not thought about it.
(Ref: “CDC Issue Brief: The State of Vision, Aging, and Public Health”) – Based on 2006-2008 data, the prevalence of moderate or extreme vision loss ranged from 5.4% to 16% in various states.Vision impairment is a serious public health concern affecting more than 2.9 million people in the US. The prevalence of blindness and vision impairment increases rapidly with age. Cases of early age-related macular degeneration are expected to double by 2050, from 9.1 million to 17.8 million for those over 50 years old. Cases of diabetic retinopathy those over 65 are expected to quadruple by 2050, from 2.5 million to 9.9 million. Studies indicate that vision loss is associated with higher chronic conditions, death, falls and injuries, depression, and social isolation resulting in overall poorer health. Vision loss compromises quality of life by reducing the capacity to read, drive, watch television, and manage personal accounts. It also often isolates people from friends and family.