June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Geographic Distribution and Trends of Self-Reported Visual Impairment in 2010-2019
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lucy Cobbs
    Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Raziyeh Mahmoudzadeh
    Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    Retina, Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Mirataollah Salabati
    Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    Retina, Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Jacquelyn Hamati
    Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Rebecca Russ Soares
    Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    Retina, Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Yoshihiro Yonekawa
    Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    Retina, Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Lucy Cobbs None; Raziyeh Mahmoudzadeh None; Mirataollah Salabati None; Jacquelyn Hamati None; Rebecca Soares None; Yoshihiro Yonekawa None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 4236 – A0164. doi:
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      Lucy Cobbs, Raziyeh Mahmoudzadeh, Mirataollah Salabati, Jacquelyn Hamati, Rebecca Russ Soares, Yoshihiro Yonekawa; Geographic Distribution and Trends of Self-Reported Visual Impairment in 2010-2019. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):4236 – A0164.

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

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Abstract

Purpose : In our study, we aim to describe changes in the geographic distribution of visual disability over the last decade (2010-2019) in the United States and evaluate these trends in the context of age, gender, and income level.

Methods : Our study used publicly available data from the Census Bureau American Community Survey from 2010-2019. Data gathered from all United States counties (3,220 counties) included age, gender, rate of self-reported vision difficulty (binary responses identifying persons who are “blind or having serious difficulty seeing, even when wearing glasses”), and county-average ratio of income to poverty.

Results : The mean overall prevalence of self-reported visual impairment (VI) from 2010-2019 was 2.31% in the United States, and there was a significant increase in VI over the past decade from 2.25% in 2010-2014 to 2.37% in 2015-2019 (p<0.001).VI was significantly higher in rural counties (3.58%), compared to urban (3.10%) or metropolitan counties (2.18%) (p<0.001). In terms of geographic region, the South had the highest rate of VI (2.63%), and the Northeast had the lowest rate of VI (2.00%) (p<0.001). For age groups >17-years-old in the 2010-2019 data, females had higher rates of VI compared to males. In terms of socioeconomic status, the highest rate of VI occurred in the second lowest income quintile, and the lowest rate of VI occurred in the first, wealthiest quintile. Over the 2010-2019 decade, VI increased by the greatest percentages in the bottom two quintiles.

Conclusions : Prevalence of visual impairment has risen and disproportionately affects certain communities. This includes individuals living in the South, in rural counties, women, and those living in poverty. Patterns of visual impairment over the past decade may inform future trends and guide interventions for populations at highest risk of blindness.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.

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