Visual disorders among Americas aging population cost society more than $35 billion each year, according to a new study from RTI International, a nonprofit research firm, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These economic costs are in addition to the substantial decrease in quality of life associated with visual impairment and blindness.

The study, published in Decembers Archives of Ophthalmology, was funded by the CDC and provides the first estimate of the burden of major adult visual disorders since 1982.

 Currently, adult visual disorders impose a substantial economic burden on the United States, says lead author David Rein, Ph.D. Because the incidence of visual disorders increases with age, the economic burden will likely rise in the future as the U.S. population ages. In 2004, more than 3.6 million Americans suffered from visual impairment or blindness, and millions more experienced eye diseases or a refractive error correctable with glasses or contact lenses.

Vol. No: 144:01Issue: 1/15/2007