Uncorrected distance visual impairment among adolescents in the United States

Alex R. Kemper, David K. Wallace, Xinzhi Zhang, Nita Patel, John E. Crews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe uncorrected distance visual impairment (VI). Methods: We conducted an analysis of the 3,555 adolescents aged 12 through 21 years who participated in the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Distance VI was defined as 20/40 or worse in the better-seeing eye. Data were weighted to represent the civilian noninstitutionalized population. Results: Overall, 12.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 10.7%-14.1%) had distance VI, which was correctable to 20/30 or better in both eyes in 86.1% (95% CI: 83.6%-89.5%). The prevalence was higher among those who reported not having corrective lenses available (44.3%) compared with those who reported that they did not need them (8.5%) or who had them available (5.2%; p <.001). After adjusting for potential confounders, those who were 12 or 13 years of age had 2.27 (95% CI: 1.32-3.90) greater odds of distance VI than older adolescents, and the odds of distance VI were greater among non-Hispanic blacks (1.66 [95% CI: 1.11-2.48]), Hispanics (1.96 [95% CI: 1.35-2.84]), or other race/ethnicities (2.06 [95% CI: 1.19-3.57]) than among non-Hispanic whites. Conclusions: More than 1 in 10 adolescents had uncorrected distance VI. To address this, interventions should address case detection, access to eye care, and adherence with corrective lenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-647
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Health services
  • Lenses
  • Myopia
  • Visual acuity
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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