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Over 8.18 million people in the US reported having a vision disability in 2022, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. They are either blind or have difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses.

Is eyesight in America getting worse?

Nearly 1.8 million more Americans reported a vision disability in 2022 versus 2010 — a 28% increase, more than three times the rate at which the US population grew over the same period (8%). During that time, the share of the population with vision difficulty increased from 2.1% to 2.5%. Americans over the age of 65 accounted for 40.8% of vision disabilities in 2022, while those ages 35 to 64 accounted for a similar proportion (38.4%).

What are the biggest challenges to Americans’ eyesight?

The National Eye Institute (NEI) at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) projects that Americans will face greater challenges with eyesight, blindness, and eye disease over the coming decades. By 2050, NEI estimates over 4.1 million Americans will suffer blindness, a 319% increase from 2010. The agency also projects that the number of people affected by common eye diseases, such as glaucoma, will be twice as high in 2050 as in 2010; for example, an estimated 50 million people will have cataracts in 2050. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the number of people with vision impairment is expected to increase because of population growth, the aging of the US population, and increased rates of chronic illnesses.

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American Community Survey
National Eye Institute
Vision and Eye Health Toolkit