Vision Loss  /  Prevalence & Incidence

More than 38 million Americans age 40 and older are blind, visually impaired, or have an age-related eye disease, and adult vision loss costs our economy more than billion a year. With major advances in vision research bringing new prevention and treatments, it is critical that support for research and incentives for innovation remain a priority. The Alliance for Aging Research has teamed up with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) during their Decade of Vision, to release Volume II of The Silver Book®:Vision Loss. Volume II brings updated data on vision loss in older Americans, as well as the exciting changes and discoveries in vision research and treatment.  

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    • Global DR Prevalence
      The overall prevalence of global DR is 34.6%—6.96% for PDR, 6.81% for DME, and 10.2% for vision-threatening DR.  
    • Risk of DR
      The risk of DR increases the longer a person has diabetes.  More than 75% of people who have diabetes for more than 20 years will have some form of DR.  
    • Global DR Prevalence
      DR affects more than 126 million people around the world— 37 million with vision-threatening DR.  
    • Proportion of People with Diabetes with Diabetic Retinopathy of Any Severity, by Country
      Map figures are for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  
    • Of Medicare beneficiaries who were blind from glaucoma, 25.3% were placed in nursing homes, 17% had incident depression, 15.5% experienced a fall and/or an accident, 16.9% suffered an injury, and…  
    • Increase in trouble seeing with age, 2010
      10.3% of the non-institutionalized adults 65 years and older have some trouble seeing, even with glasses or contacts.  That number increases to 16.5% in adults 75 years and older.  
    • Close to 2.3 million Americans age 40 and older have glaucoma–1.9% of the 40 and older population.  
    • Up to 80% of diabetics who have had the disease for 10 years or more are affected by diabetic retinopathy.  
    • Between 40% and 45% of all diabetics have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.  
    • From 2005 – 2008, around 4.2 million diabetics age 40 and older had diabetic retinopathy.  Of these, 655,000 had advanced diabetic retinopathy that could lead to severe vision loss.  
    • The number of Medicare beneficiaries newly diagnosed with wet age-related macular degeneratino (AMD) more than doubled between 1994 and 2006.  
    • An estimated 6.5% of Americans age 40 and older have age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  
    • An estimated 1 million Americans over the age of 40 are visually impaired.  
    • An estimated 2.6 million Americans over the age of 40 are visually impaired.  
    • Chronic dry eye has a clinically important impact on approximately 4.25 million Americans age 50 and older–3.2 million women and 1.05 million men.  
    • In one study of patients age 48 and older, 17% of the women and 11.1% of the men had dry eye.  
    • An estimated 20.7 million Americans are affected by dry eye.  
    • More than 2 million Americans over 40 have glaucoma, and only 1/2 are aware of it.  
    • Increase in trouble seeing with age, 2006
      16.8% of the non-institutionalized adults 65 years and older have some trouble seeing, even with glasses or contacts. That number increases to 19.9% in adults 75 years and older.  
    • Of the study participants in the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) who had open-angle glaucoma, 75% were previously undiagnosed.  
    • Around 50% of those with glaucoma are not aware that they have the disease.  
    • Glaucoma is almost 3 times more common in African Americans than in whites.  
    • An estimated 2.2 million Americans age 40 and older have glaucoma– 1.9% of the 40 and older population.  
    • Around 1 in 5 individuals with diabetes in the NEI-sponsored Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) was newly diagnosed during the study. Of those who were newly diagnosed, 23% were…  
    • Close to 50% of participants in the NEI-sponsored Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) who had diabetes, also had diabetic retinopathy.  
    • Diabetic retinopathy over the age of 40
      One in 12 diabetics age 40 and older has advanced diabetic retinopathy that threatens their vision.  
    • Nearly all patients with type 1 diabetes, and greater than 60% of patients with type 2, develop retinopathy within the first two decades of the disease.  
    • An estimated 4.1 million Americans age 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy.  
    • Every year, 200,000 Americans develop advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  
    • An estimated 1.75 million Americans age 40 and older have advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD.  
    • Every 7 minutes, someone in the United States becomes blind or visually impaired.  
    • An estimated 1 million Americans over the age of 40 are legally blind.  
    • An estimated 2.4 million Americans over the age of 40 have low vision.  
    • Low vision or blindness affects 1 in 28 Americans over the age of 40– 3.3 million Americans.  
    • Age-Related eye diseases affect more than 35 million Americans age 40 and older. The most common eye diseases in that age group are macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and cataract.  
    • More than 38 million Americans age 40 and older are estimated to experience blindness, low vision, or an age-related eye disease.