Vision Problems in the U.S. estimated the 2010 US population aged 40 and older with visual impairment to be 2.9 million, and the number blind to be nearly 1.3 million. We project that these populations total nearly 3.1 million impaired and almost 1.4 million blind in 2014.
We project these populations will grow substantially in the future; by 2032 we estimate that the visually impaired population aged 40 and older will increase by 65% to nearly 5.3 million and the blind population will increase 59% to 2.2 million. By 2050, the impaired and blind populations are projected to reach 7.3 million (2.4 times higher than in 2014) and 3.1 million (2.3 times higher than in 2014), respectively. We project only small increases in prevalence among the younger age groups, but very high growth at older ages. The number of impaired or blind among the population aged 90 and older is forecast to increase nearly 3.5 fold by 2050.
The population impaired or blind will continue to be dominated by women. Currently 63% of blind and 62% of impaired are women, proportions that will drop by only about 2% each by 2050. The population of visually impaired or blind will also continue to be primarily white. Currently 78% of the visually impaired and 81% of persons blind are of white race, proportions that will drop to 65% and 75% by 2050, respectively. Among minorities, Hispanics will be the second most common race/ethnicity group among the visually impaired, while blacks will be the second most common group with blindness.