Skip to Content

AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Adults with Vision Loss

Updated May 2018

Estimates of the number of people experiencing vision loss differ based on the definitions of vision loss used, as well as on the dates the data were collected, populations surveyed, and other features of data sources.

Data Source

The data source is the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). This survey included self-reported data by a sample of people from the civilian noninstitutionalized population who were 18 years of age and over. The individuals included in these frequencies responded that they have trouble seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses. Respondents were also included in these frequencies who responded that they are blind or unable to see at all. Thus, the following frequencies of U.S. adults with vision loss pertain to individuals who reported that they have trouble seeing as well as to individuals who reported that they are blind or unable to see at all.

Note: AFB uses the term "vision loss", which is the equivalent of the term "vision trouble" on the 2006-2016 NHIS.
Read our brief resource guide to NHIS data.

Frequencies of Vision Loss Among Americans 18 Years of Age and Over Listed by Selected Characteristics

2016
2015
2014


2016

Total 8 25.5 million
Gender
   Male 10.1 million
   Female 15.3 million
Age
   18-44 7.6 million
   45-64 10.7 million
   65-74 4.0 million
   75 and older 3.2 million
Race (primary category identified by respondent)
   White 19.8 million
   Black or African American 3.6 million
   American Indian or Alaska Native 292,000
   Asian 1.1 million
   Multiple Races 647,000
   Other races 44,000
Marital status
   Married 12.1 million
   Widowed 2.6 million
   Divorced or separated 4.3 million
   Never married 4.5 million
   Living with a partner 1.9 million
Region
   Northeast 4.3 million
   Midwest 5.9 million
   South 9.2 million
   West 6.1 million

2015

Total 8 22.8 million
Gender
   Male 8.8 million
   Female 14.0 million
Age
   18-44 6.3 million
   45-64 9.7 million
   65-74 3.2 million
   75 and older 3.7 million
Race (primary category identified by respondent)
   White 18.2 million
   Black or African American 3.1 million
   American Indian or Alaska Native 215,000
   Asian 826,000
   Multiple Races 429,000
   Other races 48,000
Marital status
   Married 11.0 million
   Widowed 2.5 million
   Divorced or separated 3.8 million
   Never married 43.9 million
   Living with a partner 1.6 million
Region
   Northeast 3.6 million
   Midwest 5.2 million
   South 8.9 million
   West 5.1 million

2014

Total 8 21.7 million
Gender
   Male 9.0 million
   Female 12.7 million
Age
   18-44 6.3 million
   45-64 9.3 million
   65-74 3.0 million
   75 and older 3.0 million
Race (primary category identified by respondent)
   White 17.0 million
   Black or African American 3.2 million
   American Indian or Alaska Native 333,000
   Asian 729,000
   Multiple Races 377,000 million
   Other races 54,000
Marital status
   Married 10.6 million
   Widowed 2.4 million
   Divorced or separated 3.3 million
   Never married 3.6 million
   Living with a partner 1.6 million
Region
   Northeast 3.1 million
   Midwest 5.1 million
   South 8.4 million
   West 5.01 million

Data Source: Lynn A. Blewett, Julia A. Rivera Drew, Risa Griffin, Miram L. King, and Kari C. W. Williams (2016). IPUMS Health Surveys: National Health Interview Survey (2014-2016), Version 6.2. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Retrieved from IPUMS NHIS http://www.nhis.ipums.org. http://doi.org/10.18128/D070.V6.2

services icon Directory of Services

book icon Featured Book

JVIB Special Issue on Critical Issues in Visual Impairment & BlindnessJVIB Special Issue on Critical Issues in Visual Impairment & Blindness

JVIB Special Issue on Critical Issues in Visual Impairment & Blindness

Help Make Drug Labels Safer

Help make prescription drugs safe for people with low vision. Support our Rx Label Enable Campaign today.