June 2015
Volume 56, Issue 7
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2015
Attitudinal Survey of Americans on Eye and Vision Health
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Adrienne Scott
    Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Adrienne Scott, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2015, Vol.56, 1672. doi:
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      Adrienne Scott; Attitudinal Survey of Americans on Eye and Vision Health. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):1672.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract
 
Purpose
 

We performed a comprehensive cross-sectional poll of Americans across racial and ethnic groups to determine attitudes toward vision, vision loss, and the importance of vision research.

 
Methods
 

A national poll was conducted online by Zogby Analytics for Research!America and the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research and supported by Research to Prevent Blindness. Data were analyzed from a population survey of U.S. adults, including non-Hispanic whites and minority groups, with minority oversampling. Sample sizes and theoretical sampling errors are as follows: African-American: sample size, 417; margin of error, +/-4.9%; Asian: sample size, 301; margin of error, +/- 5.8%; Hispanic: sample size, 401; margin of error, +/- 5%; Non-Hispanic White: sample size, 925; margin of error, +/- 3.2%.

 
Results
 

Many Americans describe losing eyesight as potentially having the greatest impact on their daily life, more so than other conditions such as loss of limb, memory, hearing and speech (57% of African-Americans, 49% of non-Hispanic whites, 43% of Asians and 38% of Hispanics). When asked which disease or ailment is the worst that could happen to them, blindness ranked first among African-Americans, followed by AIDS/HIV. Hispanics and Asians ranked cancer first and blindness second, while Alzheimer’s disease ranked first among non-Hispanic whites, followed by blindness. When asked about various possible consequences of vision loss, “quality of life” ranked as the top concern by non-Hispanic whites (73%) and Asians (68%) while African-Americans (66%) and Hispanics (63%) ranked “loss of independence” as number one. National support of research that focuses on improving the prevention and treatment of eye and vision disorders is considered a priority among a strong majority of respondents (83% of African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites, 80% of Asians and 79% of Hispanics). More than half of African-Americans (51%) and Hispanics (50%) say the federal government isn’t spending enough money on eye and vision research, compared with 47% of non-Hispanic whites.

 
Conclusions
 

U.S. adults view vision health as a priority, and vision loss is perceived as a particularly devastating outcome. Many respondents do not believe the federal government spends enough on eye and vision research. The consistency of these findings among the varying racial demographic groups underscores the importance of preserving eye health, and the public support for vision research.

 
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