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Over One-Quarter of Adults Age 71 and Older Have Vision Impairment

Older age, less education, and lower income associated with all types of vision impairment

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Among adults aged 71 years and older, more than one-quarter have vision impairment (VI), with older age, less education, and lower income associated with all types of VI, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Olivia J. Killeen, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from the 2021 National Health and Aging Trends Study to present updated national epidemiological estimates of VI and blindness in older U.S. adults. Data were included for 3,026 individuals (29.5 percent aged 71 to 74 years; 55.2 percent female).

The researchers found that in U.S. adults aged 71 years and older, the prevalence of VI was 27.8 percent. The prevalence of distance and near visual acuity and contrast sensitivity impairments was 10.3, 22.3, and 10.0 percent, respectively. Associations with all types of VI were seen for older age, less education, and lower income. The prevalence of near visual acuity and contrast sensitivity impairments were increased in association with non-White race and Hispanic ethnicity.

“It is important that we follow the current study with future surveillance and intervention studies because of the tremendous patient and economic burden of near visual acuity impairment on our society,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

One author disclosed financial ties to MetLife.

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