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National Data

These numbers are based on data from NHANES, NHIS, and compilation of population based studies

  • Approximately 14 million Americans aged 12 years and older have self-reported visual impairment defined as distance visual acuity of 20/50 or worse. Among them, more than 11 million Americans could have improved their vision to 20/40 or better with refractive correction.
  • In 2002, the age—adjusted prevalence of self—reported visual impairment among Americans aged 50 years and older with and without diabetes was 23.5% and 12.4%, respectively.
  • Approximately 11% of Americans aged 20 years and older with diabetes had some form of visual impairment (3.8% uncorrectable and 7.2% correctable). Among those without diabetes, 5.9% had some form of Visual Impairment (VI) (1.4% uncorrectable and 4.5% correctable).
  • 3.4 million (3%) Americans aged 40 years and older are either blind (having visual acuity [VA] of 20/200 or less or a visual field of less than 20 degrees) or visually impaired (having VA of 20/40 or less).
  • 1,600,000 Americans aged 50 years and older have age related macular degeneration
  • 5.3 million people (about 2.5% of all people) aged 18 years and older have diabetic retinopathy.
  • 20.5 million people have cataract (about 16%) among Americans aged 40 years and older
  • 2.2 million people have glaucoma (about2% ) among Americans aged 40 years and older
  • Only half of the estimated 61 million adults in the United States classified as being at high risk for serious vision loss, visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months
  • Approximately 8.2% of Americans with self-reported vision problems did not have health insurance. Only 4% of Americans without health insurance reported having optional vision insurance, compared with 58% of Americans with private health insurance, 44% of Americans with public health insurance, and 54% of Canadians.
  • American without health insurance had the lowest age-adjusted rate of use of eye care services (42%) compared with Americans with private health insurance (67%) or public health insurance (55%) and Canadians (56%).

Additional Information:

Collecting data on vision, eye health, and access to eye care is extremely important in helping to identify health challenges, trends, and access to eye care. The CDC is currently collecting national and state specific vision data through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Vision Impairment and Access to Eye Care optional module. For additional information about national data on vision, eye health, and access to eye care, please visit the following Web sites:

National Eye Institute/ Statistics and Data

Healthy Vision 2010



Vitale S, Cotch MF, Sperdute RD, Prevalence of visional impairment in the United States. JAMA 2006;295(18):2158–2163.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of visual impairment and selected eye diseases among persons aged >50 years with and without diabetes—United States, 2002. MMWR 2004;53:1069–71.

Zhang X, Saaddine JB, Lee PP, et al. Eye care in the United States: do we deliver to high-risk people who can benefit most from it? Arch Ophthalmol 2007;125(3):411–418.

Zhang X, Lee PP, Thompson TJ, et al. Health insurance coverage and use of eye care services. Arch Ophthalmol 2008;126(8):1121–1126.

Zhang X, Gregg EW, Cheng YJ, et al. Diabetes mellitus and visual impairment: national health and nutrition examination survey, 1999-2004. Arch Ophthalmol 2008;126(10):1421–1427.