Correctable visual impairment among persons with diabetes--United States, 1999-2004

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006 Nov 3;55(43):1169-72.


Persons with diabetes are more likely to be visually impaired than persons without the disease. In 2005, CDC estimated that 14.6 million persons in the United States had diagnosed diabetes and an additional 6.2 million had undiagnosed diabetes. Despite the importance of detecting and treating vision problems caused by refractive errors (i.e., correctable visual impairment [CVI]), a limited number of studies have attempted to determine the proportion of persons with diabetes whose poor vision could be corrected with accurately prescribed glasses or contact lenses. To estimate that proportion, CDC analyzed 1999-2004 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that among U.S. adults aged > or =20 years with diabetes, 11.0% had visual impairment (i.e., presenting visual acuity worse than 20/40 in their better-seeing eye while wearing glasses or contact lenses, if applicable) and approximately 65.5% of these cases of visual impairment were correctable. Health-care providers and persons with diabetes should be more aware that poor vision often is correctable and that visual corrections can reduce the risk for injury and improve the quality of life for persons with diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Refractive Errors / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Visual Acuity