Objective: To determine the age- and gender-specific prevalence and risk indicators of visual impairment and blindness in urban Latinos 40 years and older.
Design: Population-based cross-sectional study.
Participants: Six thousand three hundred fifty-seven Latinos 40 years and older from 6 census tracts in Los Angeles, California.
Methods: Of the 6357 study participants, 6122 underwent a complete ophthalmologic examination at the clinical center, including measurement of best-corrected distance visual acuity (VA) using a standard Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study protocol. Age- and gender-specific prevalence of visual impairment and blindness were contrasted using Mantel-Haenszel procedures. Sociodemographic and clinical risk indicators of visual impairment were explored using stepwise logistic regression.
Main outcome measures: Prevalence and odds ratios for risk indicators of visual impairment and blindness.
Results: The overall prevalence for visual impairment (best-corrected VA of <==20/40 in the better eye) was 3.0% (n = 182) (range, 0.9% [40-49 years]-27.8% [>/=80 years]). The overall prevalence for blindness (best-corrected VA of <==20/200 in the better eye) was 0.4% (n = 26) (range, 0.2% [40-49 years]-4.2% [>/=80 years]). Visual impairment increased with age (P<0.0001) and was greater in women (P = 0.02). Independent risk indicators (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]) for visual impairment were age 70-79 years (2.8 [1.3-5.8]) or >/=80 years (8.7 [3.9-19.6]), history of ocular disease (3.2 [2.1-4.8]), being unemployed (3.3 [1.7-6.3]), diabetes (2.2 [1.5-3.2]), and being separated/divorced (1.8 [1.0-3.1]) or widowed (2.8 [1.8-4.4]). Participants with >/=12 years of education (0.5 [0.3-0.8]) were less likely to be visually impaired.
Conclusions: Rates of visual impairment and blindness in Latinos are high, especially in older individuals. Better education and employment are likely to decrease the burden of visual impairment in Latinos.