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FAQs About Blindness

How many people are blind or visually impaired in the U.S.?

Approximately 11.4 million Americans are blind or visually impaired, according to the World Health Organization.

How many people become blind each year?

An estimated 47,000 - one person every 11 minutes.

What are the leading causes of blindness?

In order of frequency:

  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration
  • Senile cataract
  • Optic nerve atrophy
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

These causes account for 51% of blind people.

What are the leading causes of new cases of blindness?

In order of importance:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Senile cataract
  • How many are visually impaired?

Approximately 11.4 million - of these, 1.4 million have severe vision impairment and cannot read ordinary newsprint with the aid of glasses.

What are the most common causes of vision impairment?

Cataract is responsible for nearly one-third of all vision impairments. Other common causes include injuries, glaucoma, and congenital conditions.

How many children have eye disorders?

Approximately 468,000 pre-schoolers ages 3-5, one in every 20, have vision problems. Among school-age children, eye disorders affect one in every four, or about 12.1 million.

What are common causes of early vision problems?

Conditions, such as, crossed eyes, amblyopia (Lazy Eye), nearsightedness, or farsightedness. Without treatment by age six, amblyopia can result in permanent reduction of vision or even blindness in the affected eye.

What are the leading causes of blindness in people age 20 and over?

First, glaucoma, then macular degeneration, senile cataract, and diabetic retinopathy. These causes account for 42% of the blind age 20 and over.

Is aging a factor?

Yes, the normal aging process plays a major role in the formation of a cataract; glaucoma and macular degeneration are often associated with aging; and the older, long-term diabetic is most at risk for diabetic retinopathy.