THURSDAY, March 12, 2020 (HealthDay News) — More U.S. adults were at high risk for vision loss in 2017 versus 2002, with an increase in the proportion unable to afford eyeglasses, according to a study published online March 12 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Sharon H. Saydah, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from 30,920 and 32,886 participants from the 2002 and 2017 National Health Interview Surveys to estimate the number of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older at high risk for vision loss and to compare use of eye care services.

The researchers found that 37.9 percent of U.S. adults were at high risk for vision loss in 2017 compared with 31.5 percent in 2002. In 2017, there was improvement in the use of eye care services, with 56.9 and 59.8 percent, respectively, reporting visiting an eye care professional annually and receiving a dilated eye examination compared with 51.1 and 52.4 percent, respectively, in 2002. Overall, 8.7 and 8.3 percent reported not being able to afford eyeglasses in 2017 and 2002, respectively. Individuals with lower versus high income were more likely to report eyeglasses as unaffordable in 2017 versus 2002 (13.6 versus 5.7 percent).

“Increased public health efforts to enhance access, awareness, and affordability could reduce unnecessary vision loss in the United States,” the authors write.

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