Vision among seniors worse than expected

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Thursday, January 12, 2023 - 2:55pm
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As the U.S. population ages, the number of people with vision problems — and related physical and mental health consequences — will grow.

But the best vision data for seniors are 14 years old and based on self-reporting and outmoded tools.

A new report in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology offers an up-to-date assessment.

The paper revisits the 2021 National Health and Aging Trends Study of Medicare recipients 65 years and older, which pioneered a home vision test that used a tablet to test acuity and contrast.

The study finds that more than one in four adults 71 years and older have impaired vision.

That’s higher than prior estimates.

Moreover, it found the differences follow socioeconomic lines: By all measures, vision degrades with increasing age, lower education and lower income.

Notably, more than one in three adults 85 years and older had near-vision impairment, even though relatively cheap and widely available reading glasses can correct the condition. 

Science Aging Health + Medicine