As of 2015, approximately 1 million Americans were legally blind. Legally blind refers to having 20/200 vision or worse. By 2050, two million Americans will be legally blind and another eight million people will experience significant visual impairment, according to Medical News Today. These rates are approximately double that of today’s rates. The group with the highest rates of visual impairment is non-Hispanic white women.
So, what is to blame for these alarming rates of blindness and visual impairment in the United States? According to researchers at the Roski Eye Institute in California, the rates of both blindness and visual impairment has been increasing all over the world, not just in the United States. This is largely due to an aging population. The incidence of visual impairment increases with age. Regardless of the reason why, increasing rates of blindness and visual impairment is a concern as people who are visually impaired have higher rates of injuries, depression, chronic health conditions and mortality.
Therefore, there is an increased need for screening and interventions for visual impairment, especially among non-Hispanic white women. Regular eye screening will be of the utmost importance of the United States population in order to identify people with correctable vision problems. Early detection of individuals at risk for vision impairment and blindness should help prevent a significant proportion of vision loss.