Vision problems in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Vision problems are widespread and common in the United States. Problems with the eyes or trouble seeing can vary dramatically in severity, from minor blurred vision to complete blindness. Cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, open angle glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are all common ocular conditions that are estimated to affect an increasing number of people in the U.S. As of 2016, an estimated 3.8 million people aged 21 to 64 years were blind or had serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses.

In 2015, around 9 percent of adults in the U.S. reported having a vision limitation. Vision limitations are more common among females than males and affect older people more often than younger people. Interestingly, vision limitations were also more common among those with lower levels of education, with 13.4 percent of those with no high school diploma or GED reporting vision limitations, compared to 8.9 percent of those with some college or more.

Such high numbers highlight the need for treatment and health care professionals. In 2014, there were approximately 18 thousand Ophthalmologists and 41 thousand Optometrists in the United States. The number of eye surgery centers is expected to increase in the next couple years, as are the number of LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgeries, which decreased dramatically after 2007.

The market for eye care products is large, as are the costs of vision loss and eye disorders. In 2016, approximately 76 percent of adults in the U.S. stated they wore some form of vision correction. However, for those who prefer a more permanent solution to their eye problems, surgery can be a practical answer. By 2018 the value of the U.S. vision correction surgery industry is predicted to reach some 2.7 billion dollars.

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