Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study finds most Americans have good vision, but 14 million are visually impaired


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."

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

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%

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."

Anna Harper | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>