Objective: This study aimed to provide a comparative analysis of American population-based prevalence of uncorrected binocular distance visual acuity in Hispanics and non-Hispanics.
Design: The study design was a population-based survey.
Participants: Data from the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1982 and 1984 and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I from 1974 through 1975 were analyzed to investigate the epidemiology of uncorrected binocular distance visual acuity in adults 25 to 74 years of age in Cuban Americans (N = 391), Mexican Americans (N = 1350), Puerto Ricans (N = 504), African Americans (N = 245), and non-Hispanic white Americans (N = 2571).
Main outcome measure: Uncorrected binocular distance visual acuity in both eyes was assessed using Sloan letters or Landolt rings.
Results: Prevalence rates of 20/50 or worse uncorrected binocular distance visual acuity were 22%, 24%, 19%, 18%, and 32% for African Americans, Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and non-Hispanic whites, respectively. After adjustment for gender and age, the rates were significantly higher (P < 0.05) for non-Hispanic whites compared to each of the other ethnic groups. Significant increases in the prevalence of 20/50 or worse distance visual acuity were observed for increasing age groups (25-39, 40-59, and 60-74 years) within each gender-ethnic subgroup. Analysis of differences in prevalence by gender (controlling for age) indicated a slightly higher prevalence of 20/50 or worse distance visual acuity in women than in men (range of odds ratios, 1.1-2.1). Based on 1993 census population estimates in the United States, more than 42 million adults 25 to 74 years of age have an uncorrected binocular distance visual acuity of 20/50 or worse. Approximately 1.7 million of these adults are of Hispanic origin.
Conclusion: The prevalence of impaired uncorrected binocular distance visual acuity generally is lower in Hispanics than in non-Hispanic whites.