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Big Data Project Reports Groundbreaking Information on Blindness and Low Vision Among Older Adults

Vision Service Alliance (VSA), in partnership with The Ohio State University College of Optometry, has released initial findings on a project analyzing the rate of blindness and low vision among people aged 65 and older. Reporting on the results from eight states, these briefings also cover the incidence of chronic conditions, “quality of life, and disability indicators among older people with and without blindness and low vision.” The states included are California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. “The Big Data Project briefings are the only studies providing comprehensive descriptions of older people with vision impairment at the state and county levels in one document.” John E. Crews, DPA, former Lead Scientist with the Disability and Health Team in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), explained that “’We can apply the content to funding, services, and advocacy efforts in any venue.’” The findings reveal that 7.3 percent of older individuals report blindness or vision loss, which is not distributed equally across racial or ethnic groups or by state or county, “showing a significant impact on individuals with a visual impairment in minority populations.” A breakdown of visual impairment nationally shows the incidence as 6.1 percent among white non-Hispanic; 10.5 percent for Black non-Hispanic; 14.2 percent among Native Americans; and 13.9 percent for Hispanic older adults. VSA plans to complete the project throughout the United States. To read about and download these reports, visit VSA’s website page on Aging and Vision Loss Big Data Project Reports. For a press release announcing the initial findings, go to The Big Data Project: Vision Serve Alliance and The Ohio State University provide groundbreaking data on the rate of blindness and low vision among people over 65 in eight states.