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Eye Demographics

The Demographics of Eye and Vision Disorders

Chances are you have a family member or friend who has suffered temporary or permanent vision impairment. Note that:
  • More than 1 million Americans are legally blind.

  • 12 million Americans suffer from some form of irreversible visual impairment.

  • More than 120 million Americans wear corrective glasses or contact lenses.

  • More than 25 percent of adults in the U.S. are myopic (near-sighted).
The good news is that a comprehensive eye examination, like the one covered by CompBenefits' VisionCare Plan, can detect many of the problems that affect millions of people every day.

Eye Disorders Can Be Present at Birth

No stage of an individual's life is free from some risk to his or her vision. Retinopathy of pre-maturity affects pre-term infants, nearsightedness or injury can occur at any time, and cataract is one of the many eye diseases affecting the elderly.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of inherited, blinding diseases that affects 100,000 Americans of all social and ethnic groups. It is the most common cause of inherited blindness.

  • Retinopathy of pre-maturity (occurring in premature infants) causes visual loss in approximately 2,600 infants in the U.S. each year.
Eye Disorders Can Result from Chronic Diseases

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness for Americans under age 60, accounting for 12 percent of new cases of blindness each year (24,000 people). People with diabetes have a 25 times greater risk for blindness than the general population.

Eye Diseases and Disorders of the Elderly
  • By the year 2030, the elderly population in the U.S. is expected to double, and more than 66 million Americans will be at elevated risk for common eye diseases.

  • Cataracts affect approximately 29 percent of Americans between 65 and 74 years of age. Surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts. Fortunately, however, it is one of the safest and most effective major surgeries.

  • Glaucoma is a disease afflicting more than 2 million people, causing blindness in approximately 120,000 people in the United States. It is the leading cause of blindness in African-Americans.

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of severe visual impairment in older Americans. Approximately 1.7 million have decreased vision, and 100,000 are blind from the disease.
Source: National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research


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