Geographic disparity of severe vision loss - United States, 2009-2013.


Journal Article

Vision loss and blindness are among the top 10 disabilities in the United States, causing substantial social, economic, and psychological effects, including increased morbidity, increased mortality, and decreased quality of life.* There are disparities in vision loss based on age, sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location. Current surveillance activities using national and state surveys have characterized vision loss at national and state levels. However, there are limited data and research at local levels, where interventions and policy decisions to reduce the burden of vision loss and eliminate disparities are often developed and implemented. CDC analyzed data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to estimate county-level prevalence of severe vision loss (SVL) (being blind or having serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses) in the United States and to describe its geographic pattern and its association with poverty level. Distinct geographic patterns of SVL prevalence were found in the United States; 77.3% of counties in the top SVL prevalence quartile (≥4.2%) were located in the South. SVL was significantly correlated with poverty (r = 0.5); 437 counties were in the top quartiles for both SVL and poverty, and 83.1% of those counties were located in southern states. A better understanding of the underlying barriers and facilitators of access and use of eye care services at the local level is needed to enable the development of more effective interventions and policies, and to help planners and practitioners serve the growing population with and at risk for vision loss more efficiently.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kirtland, KA; Saaddine, JB; Geiss, LS; Thompson, TJ; Cotch, MF; Lee, PP; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

Published Date

  • May 22, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 64 / 19

Start / End Page

  • 513 - 517

PubMed ID

  • 25996092

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25996092

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1545-861X


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States