How will we see in 2050? Not well, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The number of people with visual impairment should double by 2050, says the National Eye Institute. That spikes numbers up to 8 million for blindness and doesn’t account the 16.4 million that are expected to face fixable eye issues like near or farsightedness.
In 2015, studies showed that legal blindness affected 1 million Americans. NIH predicts that rate will inflate by 21 percent/decade and reach 2 million by 2050.
These are big, scary numbers. It should be noted that the youngest baby boomers are approaching their sixties, and this accounts for a massive portion of high predictions for visual impairment.
This means that our vision is not necessarily growing worse. Rather, the number of people entering the at-risk age is growing. Many deficiencies onset naturally after 40, so it’s easy to understand that the most populated generation is getting older and driving percentages through the roof.
Who else is affected?
- Baby boomers (see above)
- Non-Hispanic white women. This group represents the largest portion of the study’s predictions. Blindness will affect 610,000 non-Hispanic white women by 2050 and see another 2.15 million with vision decline.
- African Americans. African Americans are at the highest risk for developing glaucoma, which leads the demographic to account for the next largest percentage of blindness.
- Hispanics. Hispanics have high rates of diabetes, which often comes with eye disease. By 2040, Hispanics will account for more visual impairment cases than African Americans.
The findings signify that there is ample opportunity to catch vision loss before it comes. Most sight problems are correctable in early stages. Improvements and remedies early on could significantly delay the lasting and worsening effects of the deficiency.
The researchers behind the study encourage the nation to adopt more proactive and frequent eye exams. By detecting early, we can help preserve the eye health of our current and future generations.
If you are in any of the demographics at heightened risk for blindness, schedule an appointment with your optometrist to discuss the health of your eyes. If you are ready for any refractive procedures, like Lasik vision correction, come into Diamond Vision for a consultation and see which method of correction is right for you