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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Prevalence of Visual Impairment in the United States

AUTHOR:

Susan Vitale, PhD, MHS; Mary Frances Cotch, PhD; Robert D. Sperduto, MD

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2006

PUBLICATION:

JAMA Ophthalmology

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The objective of the study is to estimate the number of US individuals aged 12 years or older who have impaired distance vision due to uncorrected refractive error.

  • Presenting distance visual acuity (measured with usual corrective lenses, if any) and distance visual acuity after automated refraction.

  • Overall, 1190 study participants had visual impairment (weighted prevalence, 6.4%; 95% confidence interval , and of these, 83.3% could achieve good visual acuity with correction. Extrapolating these findings to the general US population, approximately 14 million individuals aged 12 years or older have visual impairment (defined as distance visual acuity of 20/50 or worse), and of these, more than 11 million individuals could have their vision improved to 20/40 or better with refractive correction.

  • Visual impairment due to uncorrected refractive error is a common condition in the United States. Providing appropriate refractive correction to those individuals whose vision can be improved is an important public health endeavor with implications for safety and quality of life.