The following is a summary of “Trends in Geographic Distribution of Visual Disability – United States, 2010-2019,” published in the October 2023 issue of Opthalmology by Cobbs et al.
Researchers started a retrospective study to describe changes in the geographic distribution of self-reported visual impairment (VI) in the US.
They conducted an analysis using publicly available data gathered from the Census Bureau American Community Survey between 2010 and 2019.
The results showed a mean overall self-reported VI prevalence of 2.31% in the United States from 2010 to 2019, with a notable increase from 2.25% in 2010–2014 to 2.37% in 2015–2019 (P< .001) over the decade. VI rates were significantly higher in rural counties (3.58%) compared to urban (3.10%) or metropolitan counties (2.18%) (P< .001). The South of the United States displayed the highest VI rate (2.63%) based on geographic region (P< .001). Among individuals above 17 years in the 2010–2019 data, women had higher VI rates than men.
Investigators concluded that self-reported visual impairment increased in the US, disproportionately affecting the South, rural counties, and women.