Disease Projections

We forecast the future prevalence of four major adult eye diseases as well as visual impairment and blindness by age, race and sex from the years 2014 to 2050. Prevalence rates are based on the per-person prevalence of these conditions in the year 2010 population as estimated in the Vision Problems in the U.S. database.


Table 3.1.1. Current Estimate and Projections of Prevalent Populations with Vision Problems

Current Estimate Projections
2010 2014 2032 2050
Cataract 24,409,978 25,666,427 38,477,608 45,620,606
Diabetic Retinopathy 7,685,237 8,084,767 10,938,504 13,190,538
Impaired 2,907,691 3,058,852 5,073,572 7,301,814
Glaucoma 2,719,379 2,858,572 4,275,758 5,526,347
AMD 2,069,403 2,176,985 3,387,560 4,425,989
Blind 1,288,275 1,355,248 2,161,164 3,088,249


Table 3.1.1 shows an overview of the estimated population in year 2010 for each of the included disorders from the Vision Problems in the US database. At more than 25 million, the projected 2014 prevalence of cataract far exceeds that of any of the other included disorders. Diabetic retinopathy is the second most prevalent at more than 8 million patients. Impairment (3.06 million) and blindness (1.36 million) combine to total 4.4 million with vision loss. Glaucoma and AMD are estimated to affect 2.86 million and 2.2 million Americans, respectively. Of note however is that this measure of AMD includes only those with advanced, vision threatening forms of AMD including geographic atrophy and choroidal neovascularization. The population with early stages of AMD is not included.

This table and Figure 3.1.1 show the projected population with each condition in future years. We project that by 2050, the population with cataracts will increase by 87% from 2010 levels to 45.6 million. The population with diabetic retinopathy will increase 72% from 7.7 million to 13.2 million. The populations with visual impairment or blindness will increase by approximately 150%, while the population with glaucoma and AMD will double from 2010 to 2050. A major driver of the growth in prevalence is not only the current population with each disease, but the age and racial prevalence of each condition. Figure 3.1.2 shows the age distribution of the current prevalent population of each disease. As the major demographic trend projected by year 2050 is the growth in the older population, disorders disproportionately affecting older persons are expected to exhibit higher rates of growth.

Figure 3.1.1. Projected Prevalent Population of Vision Problems, by Year

Figure 2.0.2.Projected Prevalent Population of Vision Problems, by Year
Figure 3.1.1. Projected Prevalent Population of Vision Problems, by Year

Figure 3.1.2. 2014 Prevalence of Vision Problems, by Age

Figure Prevalence of Vision Problems, by Age
Figure 3.1.2. 2014 Prevalence of Vision Problems, by Age