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Americans Report: Losing Eyesight will have the Greatest Effect on their Lives

Update Date: Sep 18, 2014 10:07 AM EDT

In a new survey that asked Americans to rank which health conditions would impact their day-to-day lives the most, the researchers found that overall, many Americans reported that losing their eyesight was the worst. When the team examined rankings on health ailments and these conditions, they found different answers based on race.

"Every segment of the population has major concerns about the impact of eye disorders on quality of life," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America according to the press release. "Individuals realize the importance of good eye health in maintaining productive lives and fear its loss. But the reality is that advances in the prevention and treatment of eye disorders will not be possible without stronger investments in research."

In one part of the survey, the researchers asked participants what health conditions they believed would have the greatest impact on their everyday lives. The health conditions were losing eyesight, a limb, memory or hearing and speech. The team found that 57 percent of African-Americans, 49 percent of non-Hispanic Whites, 43 percent of Asians and 38 percent of Hispanics all reported that losing eyesight would have the greatest effect on their lives.

The effects of losing vision were ranked differently based on the racial groups. 73 percent of non-Hispanic Whites and 68 percent of Asians stated that losing eyesight would affect their "quality of life" the most where as 66 percent of African-Americans and 63 percent of Hispanics reported that this health condition would lead to a "loss of independence." Overall, the majority of the people from each racial group support research that will be centered on how to improve eye and vision treatment and prevent it if possible.

Despite the overwhelmingly huge support, the survey found that a lot of Americans did not know certain eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic eye disease. Roughly more than 50 percent of the participants have heard of cataracts and glaucoma.

In terms of health conditions and health ailments, which include diseases such as AIDS/HIV and cancer, the researchers found different answers based on races. For African-Americans, vision loss was still ranked number one followed by AIDS/HIV. Non-Hispanic Whites ranked Alzheimer's disease first and then blindness. For Asians and Hispanics, cancer was ranked number one followed by blindness.

For more information on this poll, click here.

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