Fast Facts: 4 in 10 Adults at High Risk for Vision Loss

At a glance

Millions of US adults are at high risk for vision loss. Yet 40% of those at high risk didn't see an eye doctor or have an eye exam in the previous year.

40% of adults

Of adults at high risk, 40% did not receive an eye exam in the last year.

In 2017, about 93 million US adults aged 18 years or older, or about 4 in 10, were at high risk for vision loss, according to a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology. Among adults at high risk for vision loss, about 40% did not see an eye doctor or receive an eye exam in the last year. Furthermore, among adults who reported needing eyeglasses, more than 8 million or about 1 in 11 adults, said they could not afford them.

Data from the National Health Interview Survey, a nationally representative survey of noninstitutionalized civilians, were analyzed for this study. The analysis included nearly 33,000 survey respondents who were 18 or older in 2017 and excluded adults who were blind or otherwise unable to see. Adults at high risk for vision loss included those who self-reported diagnosed diabetes, had vision and eye problems, or were 65 years or older.

A mini-infographic with key vision loss and vision correction stats
Improved eye care and affordable eyeglasses may prevent vision loss.

These results suggest improvements in eye care and affordable options for eyeglasses may prevent unnecessary vision loss. Annual eye exams are an important preventive care practice for people with diabetes. Early detection and treatment of diabetes-related eye disease and other eye diseases can prevent irreversible vision loss.