Health

Blacks will continue to suffer from high rates of visual impairment

As the nation’s Baby Boomers age, African Americans will continue to suffer from the second-highest rate of visual impairment behind white women, the National Eye Institute reported last week.

Man getting an eye examine
Man getting an eye examine

“African Americans are at disproportionately high risk for developing glaucoma, a potentially blinding eye disease that typically causes the loss of peripheral, but not central vision, so people tend to not realize that they are losing their vision and do not seek treatment,” said Rohit Varma, M.D., director of the University of Southern California Eye Institute, which is based in Los Angeles.

The youngest Baby Boomers will blow out the candles for their 65th birthdays by 2029, and the number of people with visual impairment or blindness in the U.S.  is expected  to double to more than 8 million by 2050,  according to the study, which was funded by National Institutes of Health.

The study reported that 3.2 million Americans had visual impairment in 2015, meaning they had 20/40 or worse vision with the best possible correction. Another 8.2 million had vision problems due to uncorrected refractive errors.

Researchers reached their conclusions after analyzing data from large studies in California, Wisconsin, Maryland and Arizona.

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