Practice Management

More US Adults at High Risk for Vision Loss

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Compared to 2002, adults in the United States were at a higher risk for vision loss in 2017, according to data published in JAMA Ophthalmol.

In this study, researchers examined data from the National Health Interview Survey from the years 2002 (n = 30,920) and 2017 (n = 32,886). Exclusion criteria included those under the age of 18 and people who were blind or unable to see. Age, sex, race/ethnicity, marital status, educational level, income-to-poverty ratio, health insurance status, diabetes diagnosis, vision or eye problems, and US region of residence were recorded.

Self-reported measures included visiting an eye care professional in the past 12 months, receiving a dilated eye examination in the past 12 months, and needing but being unable to afford eyeglasses in the past 12 months.

Participants who were 65 years or older, had diabetes, or vision/eye problems were considered to be at a high risk for vision loss.

Associations between measures and covariates examine with multivariable logistic regression models incorporating sampling weights. Temporal comparisons between 2002 and 2017 were derived from estimates standardized to the US 2010 census population.

The authors concluded that compared with 2002, more adults in the US were high risk for vision loss in 2017. Although there were improvements in the use of eye care services, a large number of Americans consider eyeglasses unaffordable.

“Focusing resources on populations at high risk for vision loss, increasing awareness of the importance of eye care, and making eyeglasses more affordable could promote eye health, preserve vision, and reduce disparities,” concluded the researchers.


Saydah SH, Gerzoff RB, Saaddine JB, et al. Eye care among US adults at high risk for vision loss in the United States in 2002 and 2017. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online March 12, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.0273

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