Eye disease statistics in the United States (2022) | NVISION Eye Centers (2023)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides prevalence estimates for the most common eye disorders and diseases. The most common eye diseases in the United States are refractive errors.

Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults. The development of large drusen deposits can increase the risk of macular degeneration.

Cataracts are a common cause of visual impairment. Diabetic retinopathy can cause vision problems in diabetics.

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve and can lead to visual impairment or blindness. Amblyopia and strabismus are the most common disorders in children.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) provides statistics on the prevalence of visual impairment due to eye disorders by ethnicity, as well as the breakdown of people who are legally blind due to eye disorders or eye conditions by ethnic group.

The CDC also provides some interesting numbers on eye disorders or diseases.

Eye disease statistics in the United States (2022) | NVISION Eye Centers (1)

Statistics on Common Visual Disorders

US alone approx.12 million people aged 40 and oversuffer from visual impairment, about a million are blind. Globally, the statistics are also similar, according to reports from the World Health Organization.more than 2.2 billion peoplewith eye and vision problems.


  • Statistics on Common Visual Disorders
  • CDC data
  • refractive errors
  • macular degeneration
  • druze deposits
  • Cataract
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Discrimination by ethnicity
  • blindness by ethnicity
  • other numbers

In general, there are numerous eye conditions that affect people, and several risk factors can increase your chances of developing certain vision disorders. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some eye problems are more common than others.

For example, in the United States, common eye diseases include refractive errors, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. How common are these conditions and how has COVID-19 affected vision and treatment? Let's take a look at some of those stats below.

Data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the most common eye diseases and conditions include refractive error, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. The CDC reports widespread prevalence rates for these disorders.

refractive errors

Refractive errors include eye diseases such asAstigmatism(impaired vision at any distance), farsightedness (farsightedness) and myopia (myopia). Refractive errors also include presbyopia, the inability to focus on things up close, like B. reading fine print.

Refractive errors of the eye are the most common causes of vision problems in the United States. A split looks like this:

  • Astigmatism affects about one in three people in the United States.
  • Farsightedness occurs in about 8.4% of the population over 40 years old (over 14.2 million people).
  • Myopia occurs in about 23.9% of the population over 40 years old (about 34 million people).
Eye disease statistics in the United States (2022) | NVISION Eye Centers (2)

The CDC advises that corrective lenses can improve vision for people with these disorders in almost all cases. Surgery may be necessary in some cases, but corrective lenses are the standard treatment approach for these conditions.

Some of the conditions categorized under refractive errors include nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Ametropia represents most of the causes that lead to visual disturbances. For example, astigmatism develops in one out of four people, farsightedness affects more than 14 million people, and nearsightedness develops in 34 million people in the United States.

Operationand corrective lenses can be used to manage and treat most refractive errors.

age related macular degeneration

macular degenerationor age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease often associated with aging. This leads to impairments of central vision and sharp vision.

AMD affects the central part of the retina, known as theblemish, which allows the eye to distinguish fine details in the center of the field of view. AMD is the leading cause of visual impairment and reading problems in people over age 60.

There istwo different types of AMD.

  • wet AMDit is the result of abnormal blood vessels behind the retina leaking blood and other fluids. Scarring of the vessels can lead to retinal damage. A typical early symptom of wet AMD is that straight lines or edges appear curved or wavy.
  • dry AMDIt occurs when the macula deteriorates with age and central vision becomes blurred. This accounts for 70 to 90 percent of AMD cases. Central vision is usually lost in the affected eye.

The CDC reports that AMD affects more than 1.8 million Americans over age 40. AMD is predicted to affect nearly 3 million people by 2020.

druze deposits

Another 7.3 million people have vision problems related to large drusen deposits – white or yellow deposits that form under the retina. Drusen consist of so-called fatty proteinsLIPID.

Small drusen deposits do not seem to affect vision, but large drusen deposits may be associated with an increased risk of developing AMD.


Cataract refers to a clouding of the lens of the eye.Cataractare the leading cause of blindness in the world. They can have many causes and can even be present at birth.

Treatment for cataracts, including surgical removal of cataracts, is readily available in the United States. Barriers such as lack of awareness or problems with insurance coverage can prevent people from getting the treatment they need.

The CDC reports that 17.2% of Americans over age 40 have cataracts in at least one eye (about 20.5 million people). By 2028, more than 30 million people are expected to have cataracts.

Surgery is the most recommended treatment option to deal with cataracts. According to the CDC, only about 6.1 million Americans have had their lenses surgically removed and replaced with new lenses to treat their cataracts.

Eye disease statistics in the United States (2022) | NVISION Eye Centers (3)

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a progressive disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina and is caused byDiabetes. The condition develops from a mild blockage, but if left untreated it can lead to blindness.

The damage usually progresses through four stages, starting with a mild blockage in the retinal vessels and progressing to an advanced blockage. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes in people who have it, so vision loss is bilateral.

The CDC estimates that 4.1 million Americans are affected by diabetic retinopathy and nearly 900,000 Americans are at risk for vision-damaging retinopathy.

Treatment consists of early detection of the disease and treatment of diabetes. The CDC reports that perhaps 50% of people with diabetes do not have their eyes examined and are not diagnosed early enough for treatment to be effective.


Glaucoma is a progressive disease that gradually destroys the optic nerves and can lead to vision loss. The Glaucoma Research Foundation provides information on this3 million peoplesuffer from it, although most don't know it.

Doctors know of no cure forGlaucoma, AlthoughOperationEmedicinecan be used to slow the progression of the disease.

amblyopia and strabismus

amblyopia orboom fouls, develops when there are poor connections between the eye and the brain and usually affects children. In fact, it's the most common cause of childhood vision problems.

peeling, or strabismus, occurs when there are refractory problems in one or both eyes. These disorders have a frequency of about 3% in children. It occurs when the visual acuity of one eye is reduced because the connection between that eye and the brain is not working properly. The brain then prefers to use the other eye.

Eye disease statistics in the United States (2022) | NVISION Eye Centers (4)

Strabismus is an imbalance in the position of the two eyes or a different refractory problem in each eye. May cause strabismus in children.

According to research published in the journalophthalmologyIn 2009, the prevalence of amblyopia was less than 2% in Caucasians and African Americans in a sample of more than 3000 children. The prevalence of strabismus was 3.3 percent in Caucasian children and 2.3 percent in African American children.

Breakdown of Eye Disorders and Diseases by Ethnicity

American Academy of Ophthalmology(AAO) provides an analysis of visual impairment associated with common eye conditions by ethnicity.

  • Cataracts may be responsible for visual impairment in 42.2% of non-Hispanic whites, 41.7% of African Americans, and 48% of visually impaired Hispanics.
  • Age-related macular degeneration may account for vision loss in 28.1% of non-Hispanic whites, 7.8% of African-Americans, and 14.5% of visually impaired Hispanics.
  • Diabetic retinopathy may account for visual impairment in 4.7% of non-Hispanic whites, 12.2% of African-Americans, and 50% of visually impaired Hispanics.
  • Glaucoma may be responsible for visual impairment in 2.3% of non-Hispanic whites, 11.3% of African-Americans, and 6.4% of visually impaired Hispanics.

Visual impairment is described as vision less than or equal to 20/40.

Breakdown of blindness by ethnicity

AAO describes the breakdown of legal blindness associated with eye diseases and conditions by ethnic group.

  • Cataracts cause legal blindness in 10.3% of non-Hispanic whites, 25% of African Americans, and 7.9% of Hispanics who are legally blind.
  • Age-related macular degeneration is thought to cause blindness in 46.6% of non-Hispanic whites, 4.2% of African Americans, and 23.7% of legally blind Hispanics.
  • Diabetic retinopathy is believed to cause blindness in 6.9% of non-Hispanic whites, 8.3% of African Americans, and 18.4% of legally blind Hispanics.
  • Glaucoma is thought to cause blindness in 5.2% of non-Hispanic whites, 18.8% of African Americans, and 10.5% of legally blind Hispanics.

Legal blindness is defined as best corrected vision that is less than or equal to 20/200.

How COVID-19 has affected eye health and eye surgery

One of the direct consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is restricted movement and reliance on digital technology, not only for communicating with friends and family via Facetime and Zoom, but also for work. Many companies have been pressured to create a remote workforce and it has caught on.

These personal and professional changes affected almost everyoneIncrease your screen timeon any number of digital devices (mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.). Prolonged screen time can strain your eyes and lead to vision problems.

COVID-19 has also impacted vision surgery and other treatment options in the real world. Some haven't been available for months. And some options completely disappeared when an ophthalmologist's office was forced to close because of the pandemic.

Again, this means that more people have had to put up with visual impairments and vision problems.

other numbers

The following are other relevant numbers listed by the CDC and the AAO:

  • About 1.3 million Americans over age 40 are legally blind.
  • About 4.2 Americans over age 40 are visually impaired.
  • More than 150 million Americans wear corrective lenses to correct their vision.
  • About 37 million Americans wear contact lenses.
  • It is estimated that about 1 million Americans develop eye infections each year, most of which are related to contact lens wear.


  1. common eye diseases. (April 2015). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. What are Druze? (May 2019). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  3. Glaucoma facts and statistics. (outubro de 2017). Glaucoma Research Foundation.
  4. Prevalence of amblyopia and strabismus in white and African American children aged 6 to 71 months: The Baltimore Pediatric Eye Disease Study. (November 2009). ophthalmology.
  5. US eye disease statistics. (2019). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  6. Vision Health Initiative. (June 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  7. blindness and visual impairment. (October 2021). World Health Organization.
  8. Four out of ten US adults are at high risk of vision loss. (March 2020). National Eye Institute.
  9. Glaucoma facts and statistics. (outubro de 2017). Glaucoma Research Foundation.
  10. Recreational screen time behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States: A mixed methods study among a heterogeneous population-based sample of emerging adults. (May 2021). National Biotechnology Information Center.

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