Out of sight, out of mind: 61 million Americans are at risk for serious eye trouble and they don’t even know it
All indications are that one of the serious and worsening health problems of our day and the days to come is out of sight and out of mind: preventable blindness.
According to national statistics compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Vision Health Initiative (VHI), an estimated 61 million Americans are considered at “high risk for serious vision loss” and that half of these Americans have not visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months.
Not visiting the eye doctor is particularly problematic when one considers another estimate by the CDC: “Half of visual impairment and blindness can be prevented through early diagnosis and timely treatment.”
What’s more, according to the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA, the number of people with blindness and visual impairment (VI) is as of now projected to double by 2050.
In 2015, a total of 1.02 million people were blind, and approximately 3.22 million people in the United States had VI (best-corrected visual acuity in the better-seeing eye), whereas up to 8.2 million people had VI due to uncorrected refractive error. By 2050, the numbers of these conditions are projected to double to approximately 2.01 million people with blindness, 6.95 million people with VI, and 16.4 million with VI due to uncorrected refractive error.
The groups affected in the greatest numbers in 2015 were non-Hispanic whites, women and older adults, while visual impairment and blindness is most prevalent among African-Americans.
Here prevalence is used in a medical sense — “The proportion of individuals in a population having a disease or characteristic. Prevalence is a statistical concept referring to the number of cases of a disease that are present in a particular population at a given time, whereas incidence refers to the number of new cases that develop in a given period of time.”
JAMA concurred with the CDC that the data suggests “vision screening for refractive error and early eye disease may reduce or prevent a high proportion of individuals from experiencing unnecessary vision loss and blindness, decrease associated costs to the US economy for medical services and lost productivity, and contribute to better quality of life.”…
Source: AOL News