Since many types of vision loss are known to occur later in life, there have been a variety of approaches aimed at better understanding this population. Two annual, national surveys provide helpful information about the population of older adults who are blind or visually impaired in the United States. These surveys use different questions and gather data in different ways. If you’re looking for “the answer” to how many people are living with vision loss in the United States, consider who you want to count and how you want to define vision loss, then read the descriptions of each survey to decide if one or more of these estimates helps answer your question.

For an in-depth discussion of the demographics of aging and vision loss, see this 2016 Research Navigator article, which reviews several sources of statistics and projections.

We have organized the estimates for older people with vision loss from two major surveys: