Four in 10 US Adults Are at High Risk for Vision Loss

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

In 2017, approximately 93 million US adults aged 18 years or older, or about 4 in 10, were at high risk for vision loss, according to a new study published in JAMA Ophthalmologyexternal icon. 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 years 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.

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, and early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease and other eye diseases can prevent irreversible vision loss.

Learn more about resources to promote vision health.