Older Hispanics' Eyesight Suffers More

They have more vision problems than seniors in other ethnic, racial groups

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FRIDAY, May 16, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Older Hispanics suffer more visual impairments than their counterparts in other ethnic or racial groups.

So says the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study, the largest comprehensive study ever done to identify eye problems among Hispanics.

The five-year study included more than 6,200 Hispanic men and women over age 40 living in communities in and around the city of La Puente, Calif. Study volunteers were screened for eye disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

They were also interviewed about their eye disease risk factors such as weight, health-care access, family history of eye disease and alcohol use.

The study found Hispanics have the following rates of vision impairment: ages 65-69, more than 2 percent; ages 70-74, nearly 4 percent; ages 75-79, nearly 7 percent; ages 80-84, nearly 12 percent; 85 and older, nearly 18 percent.

"Latinos are expected to make up about 26 percent of the U.S. population by 2025. It's important to get an estimate of disease in Latinos, and we found that vision-related problems in this community that need to be addressed," study leader Dr. Rohit Varma, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, says in a news release.

The study was presented recently at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

More information

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SOURCE: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, news release, May 2003

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