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Number Of Blind People In U.S. To Double By 2050, Warns New Study

Update Date: May 20, 2016 06:51 AM EDT

A new study warns that the number of people with vision problems and blindness in the United States will double in the coming years. According to the study, the population of Americans with a vision problem and blindness, which currently stands at more than 12 million, will rise to 25 million by 2050.

"This study gives us a GPS for our nation's future eye health," said lead researcher Dr. Rohit Varma, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, reported U.S.News.

"Our group and others have shown in previous studies that those who suffer from vision loss not only have a decreased quality of life but can also experience both physical and mental health decline, including an increased risk for chronic health conditions such as diabetes, depression, and even death," Varma added.

For the purpose of the study, the research team examined data from men and women aged 40 and older from six studies on vision loss and blindness including Baltimore Eye Survey and Salisbury Eye Evaluation Study (Maryland), the Beaver Dam Eye Study (Beaver Dam, Wisconsin), Los Angeles Latino Eye Study, the Chinese American Eye Study (Monterey Park, California) and Proyecto VER (Nogales and Tucson, Arizona). The researchers then estimated the prevalence of blindness and vision problems through 2050.

On completion of the study, the researchers predicted that more than two million people in America over 40 years of age will be blind and 6.95 million will suffer from visual impairment by 2050 as compared to 1.02 million and 3.22 million respectively from 2015 census data, reported Newswise.

According to Dr. Varma, younger as well as older Americans, especially women and minorities over age 40, should go for more visual screenings to prevent vision impairment that can dramatically affect the quality of life.

Dr. Varma stresses that people, whose eye diseases are diagnosed at an early stage through an annual eye exam and those get proper eye care treatment at the right time, live a longer life without the physical limitations and emotional challenges of vision loss and blindness.

The study has been published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

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