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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Public Attitudes About Eye and Vision Health

AUTHOR:

Adrienne W. Scott, MD; Neil M. Bressler, MD; Suzanne Ffolkes, BA, MA; John S. Wittenborn, BS; James Jorkasky, MBA

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

Alliance for Eye and Vision Research

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2016

PUBLICATION:

JAMA Ophthalmology

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The objective of this study is to understand the importance and awareness of eye health in the US population across ethnic and racial groups.

  • The population survey comprised 2044 US adults including non-Hispanic white individuals and minority groups with minority oversampling to provide predicted margins of error no greater than 5%.

  • The study measures respondent attitudes on the importance of eye health, concerns about losing vision, support for eye health research, and awareness of eye diseases and risk factors.

  • Of the 2044 survey respondents, the weighten mean age was 46.2 years, 48% were male, and 11% were uninsured. Sixty three percent reported wearing glasses.

  • Most individuals surveyed (87.5%; 95% CI, 84.5%-90%) believed that good vision is vital to overall health while 47.4% (95% CI, 43.7%-51.1%) rated losing vision as the worst possible health outcome.

  • Respondents ranked losing vision as equal to or worse than losing hearing, memory, speech, or a limb. When asked about various possible consequences of vision loss, quality of life ranked as the top concern followed by loss of independence.

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents were aware of cataracts (65.8%) or glaucoma (63.4%); only half were aware of macular degeneration; 37.3% were aware of diabetic retinopathy; and 25% were not aware of any eye conditions.

  • Approximately 75.8% and 58.3%, respectively, identified sunlight and family heritage as risk factors for losing vision; only half were aware of smoking risks on vision loss.

  • In this well-characterized survey across all US ethnic and racial groups, vision health was a priority with high support for ongoing research for vision and eye health.

  • Many Americans were unaware of important eye diseases and their behavioral or familial risk factors. The consistency of these findings among the varying ethnic/racial groups underscores the importance of educating the public on eye health and mobilizing public support for vision research.