Prevalence and risk indicators of visual impairment and blindness in Latinos: the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study

Ophthalmology. 2004 Jun;111(6):1132-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2004.02.002.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blindness / ethnology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Vision Tests
  • Vision, Low / ethnology
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visually Impaired Persons / statistics & numerical data*