The impact of vision loss on individuals, families, the public health system, and to the State of Ohio is a significant public health concern. While half of all blindness is preventable, the number of Ohioans who suffer vision loss continues to increase. Because of the growth in the aging population, in 2020 there were 1,527,590 Ohioans, ages 40+ years old, affected by vision-robbing conditions that if not detected or treated early, may lead to permanent vision loss. The primary causes are diabetic retinopathy, cataract, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Another 164,188 Ohioans are visually impaired (best corrected visual acuity is 20/40 or worse in the better eye) and 38,105 Ohioans are blind (best correct vision is 20/200 or worse in the better eye).
Vision disability is one of the top 10 disabilities among adults 18 years and older, one of the most prevalent disabling conditions among children, and causes a substantial social and economic toll for millions of people including significant suffering, disability, loss of productivity, and diminished quality of life.1
The estimated financial burden to the Ohio economy due to vision problems, refractive errors, visual impairment, and blindness for all age groups is $6.1 billion annually. Direct costs of approximately $2.9 billion include diagnosed disorders, medical vision aids, undiagnosed vision loss, aids/devices, education/school screening, and assistance programs. Indirect costs of approximately $3.2 billion include productivity loss, informal care, long-term care, entitlement programs, tax deduction, and transfer deadweight loss (loss of economic efficiency when the optimal level of supply and demand are not achieved).
Statistics from the 2020 Vision Problems in Ohio report indicate increases in the four leading causes of vision loss in Ohio since the 2014 report was issued:
97,870 people age 50 and older have age-related macular degeneration, a 10.5% increase
1,025,422 people age 40 and older have cataract, a 3.4% increase
294,742 people age 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy, a 3.5% increase
109,556 people age 40 and older have glaucoma, a 3.5% increase
“With the growing number of Ohio adults affected by vision problems, the localized data available in 2020 Vision Problems in Ohio will be helpful to health care and social services providers, members of the aging network and policy makers in planning future strategy and resource allocation to curb the growth of vision loss now and in the future,” says Sherry Williams, President and CEO of the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness.
About Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness serves all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to 1,000,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020. Visit us on the web at pbohio.org, Facebook at facebook.com/pbohio/, or Twitter at twitter.com/PB_Ohio.