Most people who are visually impaired could see better if they had the proper eyeglasses or contact lenses
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."
Percent of people with visual impairment that CAN be corrected with glasses/contact lenses
12-19 years 93.1%
20-39 years 90.0%
40-59 years 92.4%
60+ years 59.5%
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 NEIs 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."
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