Change in U.S. Population age 40 and Older

Prevalence of Age-Related Eye Disease by Gender and Age

Vision impairment is one of the most feared disabilities. Although it is believed that half of all blindness can be prevented, the number of people in America who suffer from vision loss continues to increase.

The leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the United States are primarily age-related eye diseases. The number of Americans at risk for age-related eye diseases is increasing as the baby boomer generation ages. These conditions, including age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, affect more Americans than ever before. Disturbingly, the number of Americans with age-related eye disease and the vision impairment that results is expected to double within the next three decades. As of the year 2010, there were more than 142 million people in the United States age 40 and older.

Awareness of vision impairment and its causes is important to all of us. We must be aware of our own personal risk of vision loss and take steps to preserve and protect our precious eyesight. Our communities must be informed so they may prepare the treatment and rehabilitation services that will be needed. Most important, our nation's leaders must comprehend the scope of eye problems in our country so that adequate government resources can be devoted to research, treatment and prevention.

The Vision Problems in the U.S. report and database provides useful estimates of the prevalence of sight-threatening eye diseases in Americans age 40 and older. This report includes information on the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment, significant refractive error, and the four leading eye diseases affecting older Americans: age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. The estimates in this report use published prevalence rates and 2010 U.S. census data. These estimates reflect the growth and changing racial, ethnic and age composition of the United States population.